We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

An example of an MRV - the Dutch Karel Doorman. Alamy Stock Photo
shipping news

Documents reveal bill for Ireland's largest naval ship is likely to reach €300m

Previous suggestions had put the cost of the project at €200m but that has now been increased.

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has increased the budget for a new naval ship, which will be the largest in the State’s history, to €300m. 

The Journal reported last week that the Department of Defence was set to release documents associated with the tender process for the new Multi-Role Vessel (MRV) which will allow the Irish Naval Service respond to large-scale humanitarian crises. 

Those documents have now been released on a European Union portal.

Known as a Prior Information Notice, the documents allow prospective ship builders to examine the project ahead of the full tender being released later this year. 

Previous suggestions had put the cost of the project at €200m but that has now been increased by a further €100m.

Multiple security sources said today that the increase in budget would mean a more capable ship than first envisaged. 

Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, said in the Dáil last year that the ship would replace the LÉ Eithne, which was the former flagship of the Irish Naval Service. 

He said “it is a priority” for the Government and that it is “an important element of the Defence Equipment Development Plan”.

The documents released today confirm the nature of the project. 

IMG_6971 The Dutch naval MRV Karel Doorman on a visit to Cobh. Niall O'Connor / The Journal Niall O'Connor / The Journal / The Journal

The release reveals that the ship would be an “auxiliary hospital, cargo, tanker and roll-on-roll off vessel”. This means that it will be able to carry vehicles which will be able to drive off a ramp while it is deployed. 

The document also said: “The Minister for Defence plans to undertake a procurement process to replace the decommissioned Irish Naval Service vessel, LÉ Eithne with a Multi-Role Vessel, with a design specification capable of providing a flexible and adaptive capacity for a wide range of maritime tasks, both at home and overseas.

“It is anticipated the new vessel will also be enabled for helicopter operations, freight/personnel carrying operations and will be the flagship of the Irish naval fleet.”

Sources with a knowledge of the planning process said that officials had spoken to several shipbuilding firms across Europe and wider afield either formally or informally. 

It is understood that a number of those firms are likely to make their interest in construction known. No completion date was revealed in the documents. 

A source also stated that there will likely be an effort to award the build of the ship to a European firm with a dockyard in Poland the most likely location if the State opts for one of the EU companies. 

The Journal had learned previously that ship builders in Britain and the Netherlands were likely candidates for the build.