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The role of Ireland in overseas peacekeeping missions could well be enhanced when Defence Forces numbers are back up to the minimum establishment strength of 9,500.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has revealed he's in favour of the Naval Service mounting further overseas missions such as joining an anti-piracy task force off the Horn of Africa, or on migrant rescue operations like previous ones carried out in the Mediterranean Sea.
He revealed that in 2015 plans were being drawn up to send a navy ship to the waters off the Horn of Africa to thwart raids on international commercial shipping by Somali pirates.
Mr Coveney said deployment was being looked at when the migrant crisis started to unfold off the coast of Libya.
Afloat adds that if that scenario arose the number of operational patrol vessels in the naval fleet would be reduced by almost half, from a total of 9 down to four ships. So far the flagship HPV LÉ Eithne along with CPV LÉ Orla has been tied up since last year at the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island, Cork Harbour.
During the height of the Covid-19 crisis, the flagship was temporarily drafted back into service to assist the HSE when berthed at Cork City.