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1946 - 1971

In Sept 1946 the Marine Service became a component of the Defence Forces . Thus was born the modern day Irish Naval Service. From numbers which had slipped from about 1,300 to 160 all ranks, strength increased rapidly. Three Flower Class corvettes were purchased from Great Britain in 1946/47. With the disposal in 1952 of the last craft which had served during the war, these three corvettes became the backbone of the Naval Service during the 1950's and 60's. During these years the numbers of personnel (400 ratings and 40 officers) remained constant. The first Naval Service Cadet intake were trained at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, UK in 1947. Between 1968 and 1970, the corvettes had reached the end of their working lives all were withdrawn from service. In 1970 a decision was taken to buy 3 coastal minesweepers from the U.K. These were taken over and commissioned in 1971.

1972 - 2000

In 1971 a contract was signed with Verlome Cork Dockyard (VCD) to build an offshore patrol vessel for the Naval Service. This ship, L.E. DEIRDRE, was commissioned in 1972. The building of L.E. DEIRDRE marked a milestone in the development of the N.S., being the first ship purpose-built in Ireland to patrol in Irish waters. In 1976 our Exclusive Economic Zone was extended from 12 to 200 miles. This placed a huge additional burden on the Naval Service. This was recognised by the European Community whopart funded the building / purchase of subsequent ships. Three new patrol vessels were built (L.E. EMER, L.E. AOIFE & L.E. AISLING) between 1978 and 1980 - all improved on L.E. Deirdre which was the prototype of the class. The fleet was briefly strengthened by the auxiliary ships L.E. FERDIA chartered for one year in 1977 and L.E. SETANTA purchased from Irish Lights in 1976 and sold in 1980. LE RoisinThe last ship built at VCD was the Naval Service flagship - HELICOPTER PATROL VESSEL (HPV) L.E. EITHNE in 1984. The three minesweepers were sold between 1984 - 1986. Much of their work had been coastal patrol duty and they were replaced by two coastal patrol vessels (CPVS) L.E. CIARA and L.E. ORLA in 1988. These CPVs were built in the UK for service in Hong Kong and were subsequently purchased by the Irish Government. 1999 saw the arrival of a new class of OPV L.E. ROISIN. This new class of ship was designed specifically for the INS. It is the class that will replace the current OPVs as they reach the end of their lives. The vessel was built in Appledore Shipyard in Cornwall.

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