No female officers among cadet class

For the first time since the Naval Service admitted women, there were no female officers commissioned yesterday.

It is seen by the Navy hierarchy as a bit of a blip, considering since 1995, when women first weighed anchor, their numbers have steadily grown in the Navy and indeed other wings of the Defence Forces.

Seven new officers, who were part of the 50th naval cadet class, were commissioned at a ceremony at the naval base in Haulbowline, Co Cork yesterday, in the presence of Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) Major General Conor O’Boyle, and the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service Commodore Mark Mellett DSM.

The class consisted of three university graduates, while the remaining four cadets gave up university studies to take up a career at sea. They have completed two years of intensive training both on and off ship.

The officers were watched by family and friends performing a ceremonial sword drill before taking the oath of allegiance of being “faithful to Ireland and loyal to the Constitution”.

While training, they took part in a 570km cycle from Malin Head to Haulbowline, raising thousands of euro for the Irish Cancer Society.

Three of the new officers hail from Cork while the others come from Mayo, Limerick, Kilkenny and Louth.

Meanwhile, at The Curragh yesterday, Lt Gen Seán McCann, Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, oversaw the graduation of those who had taken part in a senior command and staff course.

A total of 23 people graduated, including four naval service officers, two air corp officers, and 14 army officers. They completed a Masters of Arts in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies from NUI Maynooth.

Among the graduates was Lt Comdr Martin Brett, head of the Naval Service press office.

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