On the evening of Thursday 25th may 2006 his excellency The Ambassador of the Argentine Republic Marcelo Huergo and Officer Commanding L.E. Eithne Cdr. Mark Mellett hosted a reception on board L.E. Eithne marking The Argentine National Day and the launching of the Year of Admiral William Brown (1777-1857).
Ambassdor Marcelo Huergo
“ I am delighted to host the beginning of the celebrations for the “Year of Admiral Brown”, which you all know was the founder of the Argentine Navy. His Statue has been brought from Argentina by this Ship following her visit to Buenos Aires.” I personally want to thank Commander Mellet for you presence in Argentina. The Ship did a wonderful Humanitarian job in their trip down to Buenos Aires and other countries of South America. We are very happy that you could visit our Country and bring back with you the Statue of Admiral which shortly will stand here in the Docklands a as a Monument. Argentina and Ireland has been friend fro many many years and Argentina was the second Country after the United States to recognise the Irish Independence. Argentina was the first country to appoint an Ambassador to the President of Ireland in 1947. We have a large community of Irish decent which we are proud of. The 3rd and 4th generation of over 400,000 is the largest Irish Descendant Community in a non English Country in the World and we are very proud of that.
This evening is a show of our close relations and our close links and we very happy that you are all here to participate. I would like to ask Commodore Lynch now to say a few words. I would like to thank you all for being here.”
Commodore Frank Lynch
“For us the Naval Tradition and the Maritime Traditions has not been great for many different reasons. To some extent what we went down to Argentina for, was to borrow a little of the Irishness that was in Admiral Brown, and bring it back here to Ireland so that we could have our own Naval Hero. There are certain things about Admiral Brown that was quiet unique. He had a difficult childhood having lost his father when he was 8 or 9 years of age. He was orphaned, survived at sea; in fact he had a chequered career at sea, eventually found himself down in South America.
One of the things that was surprising about him was you have many naval hero’s in many countries but he stood aside from politics and wanted to serve his country. Another feature about him was he wanted to look after his sub-ordinates, not his Officers, but the Ratings. He felt the Officers could look after themselves. He had many such features and was renown throughout Argentina and unfortunately he is not so well known here in Ireland. We would like to change that. We would like to adopt him and bring him back into our Navy as one of one of our hero’s. Someone who was distinctly Irish in his own way This Ship went down to Argentina and it is quiet a journey. Admiral Brown came back to Ireland when he was 70 years of age on a sailing vessel. Came through the UK and here to Ireland and visited his home and place of his birth, and then went back down to Argentina and lived to the ripe old age of 80 years. So I think he is a very worthy hero. His success as a Naval Officer on behalf of his country is quiet striking something like 30 major battles and never beaten. I am delighted to see you all here this and I hope you enjoy the remainder of the evening”
LT. Commander Mark Mellett Captain L.E.Ethne
“Such was the welcome that we received in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil we would gladly travel another 30,000 miles to sense that support. Over 6000 people visited our Ship while we were in South America, we entertained over children and held 150 events during our visit, and the services we delivered was quiet remarkable and the disposal of a major navigational hazard off the coast of Brazil to the setting to work of a generator denoted by the people of Ireland to a small school on a small Island 200 kilometres from Buenos Aires between Uruguay and Argentina. That school was called Admiral Brown and it had no electrical power until we installed the generator. Not only did we do work on the diplomacy side but we also on the economic side we showcased Irish services and Irish Goods and you may find it interesting that the paintings you see here by the Mayo artist Gerard Sweeney who loaned us these paintings so that during our journey through out south America we can do our power bit for Art in the Navy. What I think was most remarkable was the support building on our strong links with Crumlin
Children’s Hospital when we got a new sense of our instutional responsibilities as an Instution of the State and our social responsibilities and it was great the Mr. Frank Feeley Deputy Chairman at Crumlin Hospital and Brendan Ryan came with us and gave us an introduction to a lot of Paediatric Hospitals in Argentina. Because we received so much support from Crumlin Hospital and inspired by the support from the Dublin Diocese who gave us the presents that were left over after Christmas which turned into an avalange of support from all over the Country and people as far away as Cavan drove down to our ship before we sailed to bring toys that we could dedicate to children in South America. Our ships company responded to this support with enthusiasm we had over 600 children some very sick some terminally ill