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Month's Reprieve Not Enough Say Naomh Éanna Campaigners

3rd March 2014
Month's Reprieve Not Enough Say Naomh Éanna Campaigners

#NaomhEanna - Campaigners behind the effort to save the heritage ship Naomh Éanna have expressed their disappointment at what they claim is too short a stay of execution for the vessel.

Last Thursday (27 February) the former Galway Bay ferry was granted a one-month reprieve from the scrapheap, following the intervention of the Seanad, to allow interested parties to put together a comprehensive business plan for the vessel.

But Sam Field Corbett, of the SaveOurShip campaign and marine heritage restoration business Irish Ship & Barge Fabrication, said it had been made clear before last week's debates in Leinster House that 16 weeks would be required to prepare such a plan "involving no State funding".

The Naomh Éanna, said to be "one of the last riveted ships built in the world", has spent the best part of three decades in a state of neglect at Grand Canal Dock after her retirement from the Galway-Aran Islands ferry route.

She was destined for the junkyard early last month before the intervention of Seanad members, despite the Department of Heritage rejecting appeals to save her.

Corbett said the four-week window of reprieve rules out the possibility of the Naomh Éanna remaining in the capital, but was happy to report that a berth had been confirmed in her old home of Galway Port.

"Engineers are confident that, after restoration of her hill and machinery, she will sail to Galway under her own steam," he said, noting that "surveyors will continue to quantify the cost of restoration, to be confirmed when the ship is dry-docked."

He also added that designers from his boat restoration business had surveyed the shop and proposed a variety of future uses for the vessel, including a café/bakery and restaurant, a "boutique hostel" and even a microbrewery.

Meanwhile, an online petition has been launched to urge Government to extend the Naomh Éanna's life beyond the present 31 March deadline.

Published in Historic Boats
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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