The Irish Naval Service has marked its 75th anniversary by showcasing its fleet in Dublin.
The ships were passing through a number of ports before being opened to the public later on Wednesday.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney attended the celebrations, along with Lord Mayor of Dublin City Alison Gilliland, An Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Lettie McCarthy, Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Defence Department secretary-general Jacqui McCrum and Flag Officer Commanding of the Naval Service Micheal Malone.
LE Samuel Beckett tying up in Dún Laoghaire Harbour ahead of the Naval 75th Anniversary celebrations tomorrow. The ship is due to depart to a 21 gun salute around 10am Wednesday morning. @naval_service @DubCityCouncil @simoncoveney #IrishNavy75 in #DúnLaoghaire & #Dublin
— Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (@dlrcc) August 31, 2021
The event began in Dun Laoghaire Port, with an honour guard inspection by Mr Coveney and a gun salute to herald the anniversary.
They sailed from Dun Laoghaire on board the LE Samuel Beckett and arrived into Dublin Port. At Dublin Port, there was a fly-past by the Air Corps.
Later on Wednesday, a number of ships will open to the public as a “Meet the Fleet” experience.
Mr Coveney praised Naval Service men and women past and present for their “dedication and excellence”.
“Your dedication to service, to maritime security, to the marine environment and to each other, is evident in the professionalism and steadfastness with which you have undertaken your roles assigned by Government over these last 75 years,” he said.
“As the State’s principal seagoing agency with a general responsibility to meet contingent and actual maritime defence requirements, you are tasked with a variety of defence and other roles, roles which you fulfil to the highest standard.
“I’m sure the various agencies you co-operate with would join me in thanking you for your ongoing service to the nation.
“Today, your role at the national level cannot be understated and, looking forward, your potential should not be under-estimated.”
Vice Admiral Mellett said: “I am so proud of all who serve, have served and who support the Naval Service.
“No matter what tasking, be it on fisheries monitoring and protection patrols, major search and recovery operations, counter-terrorism and drug interdiction operations or multinational humanitarian operations, the selfless manner in which you meet these challenges head on reflects the spirit of the generations that precede you and inspires the next to make a difference.”
Ms McCrum said: “The past 18 months have been extremely challenging and the professionalism, dedication and commitment of all members of the Naval Service has been recognised at a national level in a number of fora – not least your support of the national response to Covid and your sea fisheries role during the tumultuous months when a Brexit deal was being finalised and came into effect.
“I know that implementing Covid protocols on our ships has been extremely tough on all of you and your families. I would like to applaud you all for your perseverance and recognise your efforts working on the front line to protect the people of Ireland – thank you.”
To develop & maintain #skillsets and #capabilities, FLEX75 Exercises our Ships & Personnel in scenario based situations to enhance #MaritimeSecurity & #MaritimeSituationalAwareness. Preps continue for #IrishNavy75 in #Dunlaoghaire & #Dublin 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/zFdaI6zRrgAdvertisement
— Irish Naval Service (@naval_service) August 31, 2021
President Michael D Higgins said the Naval Service has been an “unfailingly courageous and professional” component of the Defence Forces.
He added: “As we celebrate this landmark anniversary, I welcome this opportunity to recognise and commend the many crew members of our Irish naval vessels who have, since 1946, made such a valuable, indeed crucial, contribution to our society.
“On behalf of the people of Ireland, I thank you for your constant and reassuring presence throughout Ireland’s maritime jurisdiction, protecting both our marine assets and the safety and rights of our citizens.
“I also thank you, especially, for the remarkable spirit of human solidarity you extend to citizens across the globe through your missions to overseas peace support operations, and the vital role you have played in so many humanitarian search and rescue operations.”