Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers (Resumed). - Naval Service.

180.

asked the Minister for Defence when the new frigate, at present being built in Cork, will be available to the Irish Naval Service; the type of armaments which will be carried on this vessel; its maximum speed and range; and its total complement of officers and men.

The ship at present being built in Cork is not a frigate, but a vessel specifically designed for fishery protection duties. It is expected to be delivered in April, 1972. The vessel will carry one quick-fire 40/60 Bofors gun, will have a maximum speed of 18 knots and a range of up to 11,000 miles. The details of the establishment for this vessel have not yet been finally settled, but the total complement of officers and men is expected to be in the region of 40.

Could the Minister give a break-down as between officers and men?

I am afraid I could not supply that information.

Could I ask the Minister, at this stage in the construction of the vessel, if it would be possible to see that the power is increased so that the boat can go more quickly than 18 knots, as fishing vessels can hit around 20 knots and more?

They can but not while they are fishing.

181.

asked the Minister for Defence the number and types of trades available to men in the Naval Service.

As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to have it circulated with the Official Report.

Following is the statement:

Naval Service establishments—appointments in the Technician Class

Number of appointments

Electrical Artificers

1

Engine Room Artificers

16

Radio/Radar Mechanics

5

Electricians

13

Carpenters

6

Telegraphists

28

Cooks

18

Stokers

68

Boot repairers

2

Tailors

2

Cine projectionists

1

Writers

17

177

These appointments are at present under review following the acquisition of new vessels for the Naval Service.

182.

asked the Minister for Defence how many tradesmen are employed in the civilian side of the naval dockyard in Haulbowline, County Cork; and if he intends employing civilian apprentices there in the near future.

The number of tradesmen employed in the civilian side of the naval dockyard, Haulbowline is 27. The employment of civilian apprentices there is not at present contemplated.

183.

asked the Minister for Defence the total number of officers in the Naval Service on 1st October, 1969, 1st October, 1970, and 1st October, 1971; and the total number of officers available for sea commands on the same dates.

The total number of officers in the Naval Service on each of the dates mentioned by the Deputy was as follows:—

1 October, 1969

34

1 October, 1970

32

1 October, 1971

36

The number of officers in the executive branch of the service who held certificates of competency or naval watchkeeping certificates on each of these dates was:—

1 October, 1969

18

1 October, 1970

18

1 October, 1971

18

Could I ask the Minister whether he is confident that he will have enough seagoing officers to man the new fishery protection vessel at the same time as the three minesweepers are at sea?

We accept that we have a problem with regard to executive branch officers and we are taking measures to deal with it.

What measures is the Minister taking?

Various incentive measures.

In view of the fact that he might not have sufficient executive officers to man the four ships at once, would the Minister treat this matter of the filling of these vacancies as a matter of urgency?

I can assure the Deputy that we already regard the matter as one of urgency.

184.

asked the Minister for Defence the number of officers required on a minesweeper while on full operational duties.

The number is four.

185.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will make arrangements to have the steerage cabins of the coastal minesweepers enclosed before the onset of winter.

The steerage position of each of the coastal winesweepers is situated below the bridge and is enclosed. I presume that the Deputy is referring to the open bridges on the coastal minesweepers. The problem of altering these to afford protection from the weather to the officer of the watch is being examined.

186.

andMr. Dowling asked the Minister for Defence if he will arrange for the minesweepers of the Naval Service to make occasional trips abroad.

The question of arranging such trips will be considered when circumstances permit.

Has the Minister given any consideration to a minesweeper travelling to the Olympics next year to facilitate the Irish Yachting Association and the Irish Olympic Council?

That is a separate question.

The availability of vessels at the time will have a bearing on a decision in that matter.