Fine Gael Defence Spokesperson David Stanton, TD, today welcomed the Government’s  approval to the Department and Defence and the Naval Service to further the process of replacing the two oldest ships in the Naval Service.

“In a time of economic retrenchment it is vital that State money is spent wisely. The Naval Service’s role in drug interdiction is vital in order to reduce the amount of drugs being imported into Ireland. The age of the Naval Flotilla risks affecting our ability to police Irish territorial waters fully. Maintaining an aging fleet is also costly. The two new ships will be a worthwhile investment if they strengthen the state’s ability to keep drugs out of Ireland. For that reason Fine Gael supports the decision announced.

“As Fine Gael Defence Spokesperson I will be watching carefully to ensure that the Government negotiates a good deal on behalf of the taxpayer. Fine Gael in government will ensure the new vessels are used to fight the drugs menace on the high seas.”