Minister with Responsibility for Defence Mr. Paul Kehoe T.D, in the presence of An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, T.D., today hosted the naming and commissioning ceremonies of the new Naval Service vessel L.É. George Bernard Shaw on the Frank Cassin Wharf, Waterford.
The naming ceremony was carried out by Miss Emily Byrne with assistance from her mother Ann-Marie. Emily a native of County Waterford at only 5 months of age was placed on an Immediate List for a liver transplant. Petty Officer Naval Diver John Fenton who is a family friend volunteered to become a living donor giving 20% of his liver to Emily. At the ceremony, Mr. Varadkar T.D., and Mr. Kehoe T.D., paid tribute to the courageous generosity of Petty Officer Fenton and they wished Emily continued good health on her road to recovery.
Speaking about the event An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “The LÉ George Bernard Shaw joins a modern naval fleet that serves our country with distinction. Our Naval ships assert the sovereignty and integrity of our territorial waters; they protect both the waters of our country and the European Union.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the personnel of the Naval Service for their wide-ranging work, including their humanitarian efforts in the Mediterranean Sea, which have saved thousands of lives in recent years.
“Today’s ceremony has been made all the more special by the presence of Emily Byrne and her parents. Emily is on the road to recovery after Petty Officer John Fenton, a senior Naval Diver, donated a part of his liver to save Emily’s life. It’s an act that epitomises the values of our Naval Service; courage, determination and putting other people first. It reminds us of everything that is good about the members of our Naval Service as well and our wider Defence Forces. I would like to wish Emily, her family and all who will serve on the LÉ George Bernard Shaw the very best for the future.”
Minister Kehoe said “When on patrol Naval Service vessels are multi-tasked in the sense that they also undertake general surveillance, security and other duties. By its nature, often that security role goes unrecognised or unacknowledged, but it is vital to Ireland's national priorities, interests and international obligations.”
In concluding Minister Kehoe said “Be in no doubt, we in the Government are very proud of the important work the Defence Forces do, whether on land, in the air or on the waters around Ireland or internationally.”
Both the Taoiseach and Minister Kehoe extended their very best wishes and that of the Government to the Captain and crew of LÉ George Bernard Shaw.