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Displaying items by tag: Mark Mellett

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

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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#Maritime - Ireland has been "sea-blind" for decades and needs a "strong maritime constituency" to make the most of our significant ocean and coastal resources, according to the nation's highest ranking naval officer.

Rear Admiral Mark Mellett DSM was speaking at the launch of a new book celebrating 25 years of RTÉ Radio's Seascapes programme at the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire last Monday 1 December.

Citing Ireland's mostly maritime jurisdiction - "three times the size of Germany, one million square kilometres, 92% of which is underwater... with trillions of euros of yet-to-be-found hydrocarbon and mineral resources" - he lamented that the nation had taken so long to embrace the sea.

"Over many decades, in my own view, in particular since the foundation of the State, we've been sea-blind. We haven't recognised our maritime heritage to the level that we should," said the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces.

"And that's why it's important that institutions like the Maritime Museum of Ireland have stood us in good stead by re-establishing our constituency, and more recently I'm delighted that Government from the centre, through Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, is driving that maritime constituency."

In particular, Admiral Mellett hailed "initiatives like the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster... [that] aim to establish at least 3,000 jobs in the maritime sector" in the coming years.

"But good governance needs a strong maritime constituency," he added. "And it needs champions... But more than that, it needs thought leaders, thought leaders like Tom MacSweeney, thought leaders like Lorna Siggins [Irish Times Marine Corr – Ed] and thought leaders like Marcus Connaughton, people who define and set the agenda in the maritime."

WM Nixon has much more on the Sailing By book launch in his latest blog entry HERE.

Published in News Update

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