The minister was accompanied on the podium by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lt General Jim Shreenan and the Flag Officer commanding the navy, Commodore Frank Lynch.
The six cadets, from five different counties, have completed the first two years of training to become ensigns and will be commissioned as operations and engineering branch officers.
After some well-earned leave they will return to the National Maritime College to commence another academic year which will include sea time on both navy and merchant ships, to gain experience and put into practice what they have learnt in the classroom.
Their education will be completed in the autumn of 2008, at which time they will take up their first posting as a fully qualified seagoing officers.
The only woman cadet, Lynne Donnelly, is well used to the water.
Lynne, from Portmarnock, Co Dublin, set a number of Irish Masters swimming records earlier this year.