Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Navy's Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett is Passionate About the Sea & Its Potential

5th August 2021
Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett believes the development of offshore renewable energy may be a gamechanger for west coast ports
Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett believes the development of offshore renewable energy may be a gamechanger for west coast ports Credit: courtesy Irish Times

When Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett became head of our Defence Forces in September 2015, he was the first Navy officer to take the post.

The Mayo man, who learned to sail at Rosmoney and around Clew Bay’s islands, has served several times overseas with the UN and has a PhD in ocean governance. He is passionate about the sea and its potential, and about its future in an era of climate change. He has spoken in several recent issues about climate breakdown as our greatest threat, and climate justice as a major global issue.

Vice Admiral Mellett is due to retire in September, and will be succeeded by former Air Corps search and rescue pilot Major General Sean Clancy.

He spoke to Afloat about some of the issues he has dealt with – from the Defence Forces response to the Covid-19 pandemic to diversity and inclusion in the military.

LÉ James Joyce (P62) one of the Irish Navy's offshore patrol vesselsLÉ James Joyce (P62) one of the Irish Navy's offshore patrol vessels

“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance,” he explains, emphasising the benefits to an organisation of diversity and “disruptive” thinking.

He also spoke about the ongoing issue of pay and retention within the Defence Forces.

“When I look at the quality and the loyalty and the dedication of our women and men within the Defence Forces, you could never pay them too much,” the outgoing chief of staff says.”They are extraordinary servants of the State...

Vice Admiral Mellett spoke about his future plans, and remembered how emotional he felt about looking in at the Mayo coast from the sea and not having a decent berth for a ship on his home coast.

The development of offshore renewable energy may be a gamechanger for west coast ports like Rossaveal and further north, he predicted.

I first asked him about that famous arrest at sea which he received a distinguished service medal for in 1994 – the capture the previous year of the drug-running ketch Brime.

Listen to Wavelengths HERE

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...