If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

What could we do to have a Navy to monitor the two Russian cable Ships off Galway?

  • 05-04-2023 12:34pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,606 ✭✭✭

    The current situation is, lets face it, a disaster. According to the Examiner "The navy's personnel crisis has sunk to new depths as it is now so short of frontline sailors that, for the first time, none of its four ship-fleet, worth €280m, has been able to go out on patrol."

    Previously, patrols have been delayed or temporarily postponed due to a lack of specialists such as medics, communications experts, marine engineers, and ERAs (Engine Room Artificers). But now ships are short of ordinary able seamen - if any report in sick, the ship cannot sail. And what organisation has not had at least one or 2 staff report in sick after the Paddies day weekend?

    We have 2 more ships coming from New Zealand at a cost of €26,000,000. And nobody to crew them.

    No ships to carry out surveillance on the 2 Russian "cable maintenance" spy ships recently spotted off the west coast, loitering over the undersea cables which transmit data between N. America and Europe. It is not just an Irish crises, it is an embarassment to Europe.

    So what can be done?

    (a) Should we extend retirement age : it is reported this year 142 personnel will be able to retire and collect pensions having done 21 years service. Maybe people can be enticed to work in to their forties?

    (b) Get the Royal Navy back to patrol our seas, if we cannot do it ourselves? After all, when Russian jets come down our west coast we call the RAF to intercept. "Russian military planes were discovered flying past the west coast of Ireland recently before being intercepted by British Fighter jets"

    (c) Get some help off the EU to help protect its borders. If they can afford to pay a few hundred highly paid translators in Brussels whose sole job is to translate technical EU documentation in to Irish ( a language few if anyone reads, judging by the fact there is no Irish language newspaper or demand for same ) , then surely they could pay for half a dozen ordinary able seamen on minimum wage to join the Irish Navy? This may make the difference between us being able to put a Navy ship to sea or not?

    (d) give grants for binoculars to people on our west coast in places like Belmullet and Mizen and Malin to keep a lookout?

    (e) get the Healy-Raes to build a jetty in Kerry with a free 24 hour pub and base the Navy there - should solve the recruiting problem? And create employment, win win.

    Something has to be done lads. The Examiner reported a defence source said "We cannot have the two Ks laughing at us, that is the Kremlin and the Kinahins. "



  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭niallpatrick

    It's the same for the entire IDF start a recruitment drive from the 6, I know it might be considered an aggressive act by some but it can be done covertly out of uniform going around nationalist schools coming up to leaving age. I got my papers for the IDF when I was 26 and found out I was too old by 3 months, 3 months earlier no sweat I'd have signed up but all I has an an option left was the reserves in Donegal and I think Dublin.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Why is the age limit so low? It is ridiculous. No sooner is someone got well aquanted with the work and they are "too old" and made to retire.

    And what is the obsession with buying new shups with noone to sail them. Save the millions and put it towards a bit of a pay boost.

    Never mind big slow ships that do patrols. Buy a few long endurance drones with good sensors and then when an intercept is needed, have a few interceptor go-fast boats scoot out to board the ship.

    In my opinion, this could be done with a fraction of the manpower and cost. You could have maybe 10 drones which would allow 2 to be constantly in the air patrolling the coast and, when necessary, deploy the go-fast interceptor boats to intercept and board a suspicious ship.

    The USAF are retiring the MQ1 predator drones soon. We could even buy a batch of them for cheap, demilitarised with the weapons removed and just leaving the sensors.

    For the type of task they need to do, having massive expensive complex costly ships is a nonsense. The day of that ought to be gone.

    All this could be done by the coast guard. Air Corp and Navy could be disbanded. Officers could be given the option to transfer into the Gardai, because the recruitment drive for the Gardai is a waste of time. No-one wants to work for fúck all with knackers shoving phone cameras in your face all day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    BAE systems Fast Interceptor Craft can reach speeds of up to 80 mph. It could catch anything.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭timmyntc

    How many people does it take to keep one of those operational?

    More than we can afford. Until we are willing to pay members of defence forces a proper salary, there will be retention issues.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,696 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Maybe not have so many politicians and public bleating that we are a 'neutral' country, 'neutrality' meaning the defence forces are treated as if they were an extension of the Scouts and Girl Guides.

    btw we were never 'neutral', not even during WW2, it's just window dressing.

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,104 CMod ✭✭✭✭Ten of Swords

    Here is your answer in gif form

    Investment in the Navy is what's needed, simple as that.

    Pay better wages (3 shillings and sixpence won't cut it anymore) and the Navy ranks will be replenished


    As for where the money will come from - less simples!

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Well I'm sure a lot less people and money than it takes to keep an OPV operational.

    The BAE Fast Interceptor Craft is a small (10m long) speed boat intended for high speed intercept missions. It is not meant for, nor is it capable, of spending weeks or even days at sea. A FIC mission is probably 12 hours max.

    If we had 3 of these at the ready at all times, stationed at Sligo, Foynes, Haulboline, Wexford and Dublin we could do do an intercept within 2.5 hours to any point in territorial waters once an order is issued.

    A fleet of 5 boats would probably be enough.

    The large OPVs are obsolete for the job they need to do. Sell them off, or drive them out to Chittagong and let the Bangladeshi's chop them up on the beach for scrap.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,148 ✭✭✭Widdensushi

    Well the " new" ships from new Zealand are 55 meters and are classed as being too small for the west coast so good luck with that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭timmyntc

    Small boats are not sufficient for Atlantic rough seas, and you also have to factor in that a number of boats will be in for maintenance at any one time. To meet your proposal would require more than double the number of boats you suggest. Not to mention the cost of having new bases to deploy these boats from

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    These small boats could just operate out of a pontoon leased at any Dept of Marine harbour or the main commercial ports.

    No need for big fancy bases. All the big maintenance and refit on them could be done at Haulbowline.

    I know that some boats will be in maintenance at any given time. So if we had 5 at the ready at all times, then you could have another 2-3 in for maintenance.

    The jeune ecole misadventures of other countries in previous times is neither here nor there. It is irrelevant. A small fleet of fast interceptors isn't intented to do naval battles with great powers. It is for to intercepting, and either boarding or monitoring dodgy ships. Which will be either drug boats or fishing vessels.

    We would have no business boarding any sort of foreign warship like a russian one anyway. So that is an irrelevant need.

    These boats can have ranges of well over 250 miles.

    Drones for monitoring. Sure they are succeptible to jamming. But drug runners and spanish fishermen aren't going to have that gear. And lets say a drone does get jammed - so what. It is a second-hand unmanned drone. What about it.

    And as for solar storms. Again, for how often they happen, and considering it is an unmanned drone, sure what about it? One drone lost every 5 or 6 years is hardly a cause to cry.

    And all that aside, why are we worrying here in ireland about the russians. Whatever the Russians are up to in the atlantic, it is not for Ireland to save the world from. We neither can nor should be sticking our nose in it. Leave the great game of chess to NATO, and we will mind our own business.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 8,257 ✭✭✭BrianD3

    The problem is much more fundamental than a recruitment/retention crisis in the defence forces. We are a half assed yet apparently very wealthy country that manages to be both penny pinching and profligate at the same time. One of our USPs is "soft power" aka cute hoorism and it works to an extent - let's be friends with everyone and let them waste billions on defence for a scenario that might never happen, but if it does, they'll look after us and we'll have saved billions. Hahaha.

    We've had a hospital/A&E crisis going on decades, can't seem to solve it and have a chronic problem with vacancies in the health service. That is something that affects tens of thousands of people every year. Our comically bad defence capabilities don't affect tens of thousands of people every year so best of luck getting anything done.

    If it were possible for FG/FF to outsource defence of the country to their private sector buddies, then we might see more enthusiasm for change but would we be any better off.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,766 ✭✭✭timmyntc

    If it were possible for FG/FF to outsource defence of the country to their private sector buddies, then we might see more enthusiasm for change but would we be any better off.

    I can see it now, defense contract for Ireland being awarded to Denis O'Briens new PMC

    Healy-Raes will have their own militia down in Kerry getting local defense contracts for the county...

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,696 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    We are a fur coat but no knickers type of country.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭thinkabouit

    Ask the EU for more money?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,606 ✭✭✭Francis McM

    But as someone else once said, with the fur coat bought with EEC / EU grants and kept in a house bought with borrowed money, paid by a job from a multinational attracted to this offshore tax haven island as they saw it.

    Maybe time to pay the Navy properly, or else not have one at all. The government could cut back on some money and effort it wastes in other areas.

  • Registered Users Posts: 775 ✭✭✭65535

    Irish Naval Service to send ship to combat arms smugglers off coast of Libya !

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    I never said anything about big high tech drones.

    I am talking small.medium drones with mature, proven technology. For example, the USAF are retiring the MQ-9 and RQ-1. They could probably be bought for an awful lot less money second hand. All it needs to be able to do is detect and observe a ship. Even less expensive, lighter, smaller drones are available. For example, the IAI Heron drone can keep going up to 52 hours duration. I am sure, the same as everything else, that the manufacturers could offer a stripped back Paddy-spec version of the drone for cheaper that just has what we need and none of the fancier high tech expenses.

    And with a drone or pair of drones observing a suspicious ship, your point about a ship being gone when you get there is pointless. The go-fast boats are only needed to make the final dash towards the target at high speed, up to 80 miles per hour.

    As for the OPVs being armed. What is the point? I mean, firing a 155mm shell across the bow will get their attention fair enough, but the skipper of a rogue fishing vessel know full well that a fellow EU state isn't going to turn it on them in anger and kill them. A magazine or 2 of submachinegun rounds emptied up against the side of the bridge will get their attention just as much, if not more than a big gun.

    If illiterate Somali stick men can sieze armed container ships, then surely a well resourced high speed intercept team could sieze a fishing boat or drug boat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    And on the wider pricture, sure we are very strategically positioned. We all know that. But what is in it for us to blow our bannanas on patrolling it. The real stakeholders out there are the UK and other main EU states. We never could, nomatter how much GDP% we invest, be able to do or inlfuence anything out there. Let that game to the UK and the others. They are the real players in this chess game. Ireland just happens to be sitting in the same room.

    And those subsea cables. They are not ours and they are not here for our benefit. They are owned by big trillion dollar telecommunications multinationals. Let them pay for securing and repairing their cables. Why should we do it?

    And I wouldn't bet on the Russian navy being capable of doing much. The russian armed forces have little in common with the Soviet armed forces of 35 years ago, and a very much a stripped down dumbed down version of what it was. In Ukraine the ground forces have shown themselves to be ludicrously incompetent to the point of comedy. Why should we entertain the idea that the Russian Navy is any more competent than their land based counterparts?

    I'd say the most they could do is drop huge quantities of depth charges on the cable and cross their fingers that one hits it. Basically the naval equivalent of their massed dumb, inaccurate artillery barrages in the Donbass.

    And anyway, why do we even need to monitor what the Russians or Chinese are up to in the Atlantic? Why is it necessary for us? Where does it add value for us?

    You can be sure the UK, USA and other NATO players will be monitoring and tracking everything going on the same, regardless of whether we bust our nut or whether we do sweet fúk all about it. Leave it to them I say.

    The long and the short of it is this, there are no votes to be got from military spending. So we can talk till the cows come home about big boats and fighter jets, but it's all a load of hot air. None of it will ever ever happen. This is just Walter Mitty stuff from military fan-boys.

    I happen to thing the running down of defence spending is good. Whatever isn't spent on the military can be spent on roads, hospitals, schools, and community projects.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Why are we even getting involved in that? That is none of our business. That is thousands of miles from ireland and the goings on out there are no concern of Irelands. And who pays for these little adventures I wonder?

    Is it paid for by the DoD or are we getting some EU/UN funding to cover the costs of that?

    And how do these trips happen? Are we made to do them by the UN/EU or does some donkey in the DoD volunteer us to go over and get stung for the costs of the trip.

    And how can they suddenly find enough men to man a ship all the way over to the Med for months on end, but yet they are so caught otherwise that brand new ships are tied up getting rusty in haulbowline.

    Would they not sell off a ship or two to raise a few quid for the service? I mean, the ships are laid up doing nothing anyway, so not having them will only be the loss of a liability.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,406 ✭✭✭✭kneemos

    Only way you can monitor that much sea is by satellite I'd have thought. Ships have a transponder like aircraft,those that don't could be investigated.

    I mean what are going to do anyway even if they were up to something nefarious?

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 20,410 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    Sweden is considering putting big barcodes on the sides of the ships in their fleet. When coming back from manouevres they want to be able to Scan The Navy In.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,743 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    That sums up Ireland….more worried and more concerned about prioritising the needs and interests of people thousands of miles away, on another continent than it’s own security and safety.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,289 ✭✭✭✭cj maxx

    We find money to pay an overinflated civil service , td’s senators, county councils, paying ransom prices for construction projects . And leave our national defence in the hands of , though a friendly country, one we fought a 2 1/2 year war against. Nothing can explain it

    Pay decent wages , invest in our military and grow a pair of balls

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,287 ✭✭✭beachhead

    The government could contact the British Government and say sorry we didn't mean to leave the Empire 100 years and can we come back or apply to become the 51st state of the US of A. It doesn't matter how many ships or personnel the Irish Navy have they would not be able to protect the territorial waters.They are probably more Chinese ships out there than Russian.Best to just forget about it and continue with the token arrangement as it is and let it become a playground for the Powers and the Super Trawlers.The French might interested in taking over patrols(again,token)as Macker wants to recreate the French Empire

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,291 ✭✭✭✭Gatling

    Drones are the Way forward when It comes to maritime defense and surveillance,the Americans have already proven that you can develop and operate drones essentially 24/7 and operate in all weather's,they are already starting to operate in the Artic,

    It takes a little investment and ingenuity we could have the ability to monitor thousands of kilometers of ocean,we are already seeing newer drones capable of carrying multiple different payloads to extend intelligence gathering and the ability to drop sonar sensors and to fly missions over 30+ hours

    We already need to build a purpose built airbase capable of housing fast jets and drones ,

    But we need will ,balls and investment first,

    No point crying we're neutral when we have zero capabilities to defend against let alone detect any foreign agression

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,068 ✭✭✭blackbox

    I know we couldn't patrol the globe like the USA does, but we should be able to protect our own territorial waters.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,246 ✭✭✭✭Dyr

    Invite the Americans in and give them a few naval bases, then have them train up Naval recruits for us because you can be damn sure our Navy packed with incompetents, jobsworths and time servers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,743 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    I doubt any political party and the majority of our politicians for that matter would have the stones to say…” look the reality is the EU and world is at a most dangerous moment since WW2 ended….therefore it’s prudently the right thing, to up our capabilities in military defence…so we’re going to over the next few years, increase our spend on defence, especially our air defence being an island nation…”

    greens, Labour, social democrats, PBP will just continue their attack rhetoric on anything…. We could all be enslaved by Putin and co and Ryan and the rest of the greens would be more worried about the co2 emissions as a result of our capture and enslavement over attaining freedom and defeating our enemy.

    defending this state and our citizens should always be about planning for worst case and have a reasonably active deterrent.


    Chronic shortage of Gardai.

    Chronic shortage of Garda vehicles.

    Chronic shortage of military, we have around 8000 active personnel. Roughly 308 active military personnel available per county.

    Chronic shortage of firepower, vehicles and equipment for the numbers we do have…

    Chronic shortage of hospital beds,

    politicians don’t give a bollòcks, it’s a career. They spout out hokey and make decisions to enable themselves to be re-elected.

    how does a country the size of Ireland, with our population have just 8000 or so active personnel ?

    hill 16 has literally 2000 more people stood on it when it’s at capacity, then active military personnel in the whole of Ireland. There is an image…

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,410 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    Do you know what the definition of Chronic is?

    Interesting stat about Hill 16.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 24,743 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    continuing or occurring again and again for a long time..

    very interesting.