The Irish Navy
Among the most modest fleets deployed by the EU, undoubtedly figure the Irish Navy (Outside Northern Ireland). Incorporated into the Commonwealth until 1948 and then independent, the Republic of Ireland (1949) has a coastal force capable of enforcing fishing zones and territorial waters, and is composed exclusively of patrol boats. Ireland’s inviolable neutrality has never joined NATO.
Originally, Ireland operated 3 former flower-class Corvettes, well adapted to the climate (Cliona, Macha, Maev), and retired in 1971-72. They had been modernized in 1953, becoming guardians. There was also an old light patrol boat (1936), the Fort Brannoch, and 5 British torpedo launchers from 1939, all out of active in 1947-48. It also operated 3 Banba class minesweepers, of the “Ton” type and built locally. They were Banba, Fola, and Gràinne, acquired in 1971 and disarmed in 1983-86. All in all, the Irish navy operated 8 patrol boats at the time of the fall of the USSR. At present, its booming economic situation gives it the means for a much more ambitious naval policy, even though local needs do not require greater force than that currently deployed, unless it engages in a more proactive foreign policy and interventionist, which does not seem to be his priority.
Strenght in 1990:
It was the Deidre, a kind of “prototype” series, and the three Emer class, built in 1970-79. But the biggest, the “flagship”, was the Eithne, a 2000-ton ship capable of operating a helicopter. In addition, Ireland placed an order for two fast Peacock class vessels in 1988, the Orla and Ciara, built in Hong Kong.
Patrol Sloop Eithne
Built in Cork, launched in 1983, and commissioned in December 1984, this building was based on the Emer but redesigned for a longer range (more than 200 nautical miles). Two ships were initially planned, but only one approved for budgetary reasons. The armament was mixed (Swedish Bofors, German cannon, French electronics and Dauphin helicopter). The latter was a patrol and rescue craft, unarmed in principle.
Displacement: 1915 tons PC.
Dimensions: 80.8 x 12 x 4.3 m.
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 Ruston paxman diesels, 7200 hp and 19 knots max.
Armament: 1 57 mm Bofors gun, 2 20 mm Rheinmetall, 2 ML 7.62 mm.
Electronics: Decca Radars TP1229, AC1629c, HSA DA-05, Sonar Plessey.
Posts to come:
Cliona class patrol boats
Patrolmen class Deidre / Emer
Orla’s fast patrol boats