The chairman of a Navy Veterans’ association claims ‘political expediency’ is behind the decision to hold a medal ceremony in a Junior Minister’s constituency instead of the Naval Base at Haulbowline, Co Cork.
Last weekend Minister of State Paul Kehoe announced the creation of a new medal to recognise the work of navy personnel who were involved in recent humanitarian efforts in the Mediterranean.
However the revelation that the ceremony during which the “Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal” is to be awarded will be held in Rosslare — within the minister’s Wexford constituency — instead of the naval base in Cork has caused disquiet among both serving officers and veterans, according to Peter Mulvany, chairman of the Irish Seamen’s Relatives’ Association.
Peter Mulvany has written to both Minister Kehoe and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to outline concerns over the decision to hold the ceremony in Rosslare.
“It is with some concern that one learns of the minister’s intention to have a medal presentation in Rosslare in his own constituency, which is in contrast as to what could be another unique event on the naval base, where families of serving personnel, shipmates past and present could pay tribute to those members who are no longer with us, and honour personnel who risked their lives for others in the Mediterranean, and all on parade together as a Naval Service family,” Mr Mulvany wrote.
“Surely political expediency cannot be permitted to disrupt or interfere with an expected all-inclusive event on the naval base?
“Perhaps the minister might rethink and bring all shipmates and their families together in celebration on the base rather than in Rosslare located in his constituency?” he wrote.
Mr Mulvany told the Irish Examiner that he received widespread support from both retired and serving navy personnel for his complaint after he posted a copy of the correspondence to Facebook.
He has also sent the letter to Minister Richard Bruton and TDs Clare Daly and Sean Haughey.
Mr Mulvanny said the opposition TDs have replied and stated their intention to raise his concerns.
His criticism follows similar concerns raised by the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association — PDFORRA.
On Monday the Irish Examiner revealed how PDFORRA was disappointed in the choice of location for the ceremony, and how it said Haulbowline was the preference among naval personnel, the majority of whom live in the vicinity of the naval base with their families.
The Irish Examiner has asked the Department of Defence for an explanation for its decision to hold the medal ceremony in Rosslare, and if the town was chosen due to its location within Minister Kehoe’s constituency.
No response was received at time of going to press.
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