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Irish Naval Service returns after mission to Latin America

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  • Irish Naval Service returns after mission to Latin America

    Wednesday 14th 2010

    Defence Forces News
    Irish Naval Service returns after mission to Latin America
    Wednesday 14th 2010

    The Irish Naval Service vessel LE Niamh returns to the Naval Base, Haulbowline in Cork Harbour on Thursday the 15th of July following a very successful mission to Latin America.

    The Minister for Defence Mr Tony Killeen TD, accompanied by the Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Sean McCann, and the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Frank Lynch, will be in Haulbowline to welcome the ship home.

    The families and friends of the ship’s crew of 47, who have been away for 74 days, will also be present on the Naval Base to greet their arrival at 2pm on Thursday. Speaking on the return of the LE Niamh, Minister Killeen said: “The trade and diplomatic mission to Latin America, which was undertaken by the LE Niamh, was a significant initiative from Ireland’s perspective and is an example of continued effective inter-departmental cooperation, particularly in the area of trade. The Captain and crew of the ship have carried out excellent work on behalf of the State in furthering our national interests in the region. I would like to commend them on their achievements and thank them for their service.”

    The LE Niamh departed on her 18,000 nautical mile diplomatic and trade mission to Latin America on the 03rd of May. Latin American countries celebrate the 200th anniversary of their independence this year, and the deployment took place in support of Ireland’s ongoing trade and diplomatic links with the region. Many Irishmen and women were associated with the achievement of independence, including Admiral William Brown, the ‘father of the Argentine Navy,’ who came from Foxford, County Mayo.

    During the voyage, the LE Niamh visited Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the United States. In addition to participating fully in bicentenary celebrations, the Ship hosted a number of activities in conjunction with the Department of Foreign affairs and Enterprise Ireland, designed to strengthen links with the region, and to encourage trade and marketing opportunities. In excess of 12,000 people visited the ship, including Ambassadors, Politicians, business leaders and senior Army and Naval officers.

    The ship’s crew also took part in humanitarian work in each port, donating their time and skills to help projects with an Irish connection. In Rio de Janeiro, the ship’s company helped to build a new school and boarding house for the orphans of the ‘homeless child’ project. In Buenos Aires, toys and money were donated to a home for people with special needs to help with restoration work, while in Valparaiso, members of the crew worked with 'A roof for Chile' which is helping to build temporary timber houses for those worst affected by the earthquake earlier this year. Toys, clothes, books and money were also donated by the ship’s company to an orphanage in Veracruz, Mexico.

    Although the LE Eithne visited the region in 2006, this voyage to Latin America marked several firsts for the Irish Naval Service. The LE Niamh travelled further South and West than any other Irish Naval ship; she was the first Irish Naval vessel to transit the Straits of Magellan near Cape Horn and the first to sail in the Pacific Ocean. She was also the first Irish naval ship to visit Chile and Mexico and was the first to transit the Panama Canal.

    Speaking at the end of the mission, the Captain of the LE Niamh Lieutenant Commander Ken Minehane said:

    “We are very proud to have been selected to represent Ireland on such an historic and important mission to Latin America. The high esteem in which Ireland and her Navy is held throughout the region was very evident in every country that we visited and in the reception we received in every Port. I am particularly proud of the Ship’s Company who worked tirelessly throughout the mission, and I would like to thank the crew’s families and friends for their support.”

    The LE Niamh will berth at the Naval Base in Haulbowline at 2 pm on Thursday the 15th of July 2010.

    Press Officer: Comdt. Neil Nolan 01 8042687 : 087 2482130

    e-mail: Press Officer web:
    Last edited by Goldie fish; 15 July 2010, 19:12.

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.