Dáil Éireann - Volume 326 - 28 January, 1981

Written Answers. - Naval Patrol Vessels.

[358] 35. Mr. Creed asked the Minister for Defence when he will be in a position to give all the details requested in parliamentary questions Nos. 20 and 21 on 18 June 1980 and Nos. 22 and 23 of 17 December 1980 particularly the dates for ordering, laying down and entering service; if his attention has been drawn to a report (details supplied) regarding the armament and the foreign participation in the design of these vessels; if the delay in ordering the vessels, which is now some months after the date given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in reply to a supplementary question on parliamentary question No. 21 of 18 June 1980, will mean a delay in entry into service of these vessels; and if he will make a statement on the above and the reasons for the delays.

Minister for Defence (Mr. Barrett): I have read the press report to which the Deputy refers. In accordance with a decision of the Government that an order for two new design patrol vessels for the Naval Service should be placed with Verolme Cork Dockyard, a letter of intent, accompanied by a substantial down payment, was issued to the dockyard in December 1980.

It had been hoped originally that an order for the new vessels would be placed during 1980 but completion of the detailed specifications has taken longer than anticipated due to the complexity of the project, the sophistication of the many new equipments involved and the necessity to ensure the highest standards of safety.

Negotiation of the formal contract, including price and delivery terms, will be finalised as soon as possible and construction of the first of the two vessels is expected to take approximately one-and-a-half years from the start of steel work in the shipyard, with the second to take six months longer. The dates for laying down, launching and entry into service will depend on the progress of the building schedules.

[359] 60. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Finance (1) the estimated cost of the proposed improvements to Knock national school, Lettermalle, County Galway; (2) the date these works were approved by the Department of Education; (3) when the works will be advertised for tenders; and (4) the reason for delay in proceeding with these works.

Minister for Finance (Mr. G. Fitzgerald): The Department of Education sanctioned a grant towards the cost of water flushed sanitation at Knock national school, Lettermalle, County Galway, in January 1980 on the basis of water being available from a group water scheme. The grant also provided for replacement of some defective windows.

The group scheme has not yet reached the school site but the Commissioners of Public Works understand that it may do so before the end of the year. In anticipation of this the chairman of the school management board has been authorised to invite tenders. It is not the practice to disclose the estimated cost of works.