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#NavalService - The Irish Times writes that the head of Defence Forces has sought to make a verbal submission to the Public Sector Pay Commission because of the seriousness of the military pay issue in the view of himself and senior colleagues.

Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Vice Admiral Mark Mellett declined to use the word “crisis” saying he preferred to say the military was facing serious “challenges”.

He was speaking on Tuesday before addressing the annual conference of PDforra, the Defence Forces’ rank-and-file representative body, in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

His remarks came in the wake of two Naval Service vessels being unable to put to sea last week (see Afloat's related coverage) because of crew shortages, and reservists being used to fill crew gaps on another vessel.

The problems prompted Vice Admiral Mellett and his assistant Chief of Staff, Brig Gen Peter O’Halloran, to hold emergency talks last Friday with the Naval Service Flag Officer Commanding, Cdr Mick Malone. For much more from the newspaper click here. 

Also the story appears in The Irish Mirror which adds that morale is at an all-time low in the Naval Service with 66 sailors staying on board their ships because they can’t afford high rental prices.

The revelation was made by Mark Keane, president of PDFORRA, the organisation that represents members of the Defence Forces. Mr Keane lifted the lid on the discontent in the ranks at the naval base on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour.

For further reading including comments made by the president also speaking at the conference held in Mayo, click here. 

Published in Navy

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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