Naval Service first as women made petty officers

For the first time the Naval Service has promoted women to the rank of petty officer, a position acknowledged as the backbone of the service.

Three women assumed their roles yesterday, ensuring women now hold office in every section of the Naval Service.

Women were first admitted to the Naval Service in 1995 with the introduction of cadets. The first induction of recruits had followed two years later.

Lieutenant Commander Roberta O’Brien from Bansha, Co Tipperary became the first female captain of a ship in 2008.

Since then three other women have gone on to command vessels.

Honor Murphy, 33, from Crosshaven, Co Cork, said she was “really looking forward to taking up the new appointment” as a petty officer. Ms Murphy, who joined the service 14 years ago, was appointed a senior rate petty officer at a special ceremony at the naval base in Haulbowline yesterday.

“There’s more responsibility. Women are able to do every job in the navy now. Women are coming into their own,” she said.

Petty Officer Murphy added there was no reason that a woman couldn’t become overall commander of the Naval Service.

Suzanne Grogan, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, who joined the force in 1999, was also promoted.

Growing up, she had a keen interest in search and rescue and decided the Naval Service was the job for her.

The mother of a 12-year-old daughter, she has recently finished her latest tour at sea onboard the LÉ Róisín and she will now take up a position in Naval Support Command.

Ms Grogan is a qualified instructor in marine fire fighting and damage control, having completed detailed training in Britain in 2008.

Meanwhile, Orla O’Shea was promoted to petty officer rank in the Naval Service Reserve (NSR).

The acting deputy principal at Barryroe National School in West Cork joined the reserve service in 2003. The NSR currently has two female officers.

She’s also conducting a potential officers course within the NSR which she will complete in 2014.

Commodore Mark Mellett, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, said he wished the three well in their appointments.

“This event helps to strengthen further the capacity of the Naval Service to provide for all in society, which it reflects,” he said.

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