#SamuelBeckett- A niece of Samuel Beckett, Caroline Murphy performed the honour of naming the Naval Service's newest OPV, L.É. Samuel Beckett (P61) and at her side An Taoiseach and Minister for Defence Enda Kenny witnessed the customary champagne bottle smash against the bow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
In his address, An Taoiseach said "the naming and commissioning carried with it a great sense of pride and anticipation for all Naval Service personnel. L.E. Samuel Beckett will be a tremendous asset to the Naval Service. I know that the ship's first captain, Commander Ken Minehane and his crew are eagerly looking forward to working up the new ship to its full potential".
The €50m L.E. Samuel Beckett named after the Nobel Prize winning playright, took place along Sir John Rogerson's Quay. Also on the quayside is the statue of the founding father of the Argentine Navy, Admiral William Brown who hailed from Foxford, Co. Mayo. Ahead of the L.E. Samuel Beckett's bow is the Liffey bridge that also bears the same name of the playright.
The appropriate backdrop to the historic occasion included the commissioning of the OPV90 class newbuild into the Naval Service which took place in front of an invited audience as well as the public during glorious conditions.
Among the Government representives was the newly appointed Minister for Justice and officials from shipbuilders, Babcock Marine & Technology, Appledore in north Devon, which floated out the newbuild last November and saw her completed last month as yard no. 194.
The vessel which docked yesterday (see photos), was blessed and following this the L.E. Samuel Beckett's captain, Commander Ken Minehan read out the commissioning warrant to the ship's coy. Then the captain was 'piped' on board the vessel that was officially accepted as a state ship.
L.E. Samuel Beckett – the view from one bridge to another!
Captain Ken Minehan is 'piped' on board
The gangway also saw the ships company (off 44 personnel and 10 more for trainees) embark on the newest member of the Naval Service which has restored an eight-strong fleet follwing the decommissioning of L.E. Emer last year.
A sister of the newbuild, L.E. James Joyce (P62) which is constructed of 55 modular sections before been assembled is due to enter service next year. Together the 'Beckett' class cost €108m and among their primary roles are fishery protection, SAR, drug interdiction and monitoring of pollution incidents. Her main armement is the bow-mounted 76mm OTO Melara gun.
On board L.E. Samuel Beckett is an iconic photograph of the ship's namesake taken at Le Petit Café, Paris, in December 1985. This was Beckett's favourite place to meet his friends. The photographer, John Minihan was also on board to discuss the famous photograph with An Taoiseach, Captain Minehan and Caroline Murphy.
The other branches of the Defence Forces attended the ceremony, the Irish Army and Air Corps which provided a fly-past that tracked above the Liffey quays and involved a CASA Maritime Fisheries Patrol aircraft.
As guests explored the new vessel, the Army No. 1 Band played Adele's soundtrack to the James Bond film 'Skyfall' which all added to the celebratory atmosphere. Tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, the newbuild will be open to the public between 2 and 5pm.
L.E. Samuel Beckett on first patrol after naming ceremony and is seen here off Killiney Bay