Updated: 16/05/17 : 14:35:46
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

national

Government sold LÉ Aisling 'for the price of a car' says Galway mayor

The Deputy Mayor of Galway has hit out at the handling of the sale of the LÉ Aisling saying "we sold a ship for the price of a car".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Fine Gael's Pearse Flannery said when it was being decommissioned as a naval vessel, he requested that the LÉ Aisling be gifted to the people of Galway as a floating museum.

He said the ship was twinned with the city of Galway and was berthed and docked in the city frequently.

He said they had numerous communications with the Department of Defence and they asked for a costed business plan, but Mr Flannery said the time-frame given to submit the plan was not sufficient and it became "an insurmountable task in that time-frame".

He said they had until the first week in September last year to submit the plan, otherwise it would not be considered by the Department of Defence.

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on Defence has said the Minister for Defence needs to answer questions and the department needs to provide more detail on the sale of the naval vessel on whether they explored alternative options to the sale that might have realised a better return to the State.

Lisa Chambers told Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio One the State may have "potentially" lost out on this deal and it appears the "lazy approach" was taken by selling it, getting rid of it and taking what they got.

She said: "That's not the approach we should be taking with State assets. Certainly on the face of it, it appears that we may have sold the ship far below the value."

She also said she is concerned that the auctioneer "was not told to put a reserve price on the ship"

She said: "Certainly that would indicate to me that there was a risk being taken by the Department of Defence in not placing an adequate reserve on the ship.

"If there was no valuation, why not?"

She said the Minister needs to answer questions on whether or not he believes the Government thinks it got good value for the sale of the vessel, and there more detail is needed from the Department of Defence on its explanation that it was too difficult to get a market valuation.