As the Deputy is aware, my colleague, Minister Murphy, the Minister for Housing Planning and Local Government, is responsible for marine environmental policy. This includes the overall co-ordination of Ireland's network of marine protected areas. I understand it is Minister Murphy's intention to bring forward a Bill to provide for the designation of further Marine Protected Areas in 2020.
The primary day-to-day tasking of the Naval Service in Ireland is to provide a fishery protection service in accordance with the State’s fishery protection legislation and our obligations as a member of the European Union. When on patrol Naval Service vessels are multi-tasked in the sense that they also undertake general surveillance, security and other duties. While the Naval Service has no role in relation to the designation of Marine Protected Areas, the Deputy can be assured that the Naval Service will continue to carry out the roles they have been assigned by Government.