Fianna Fáil has called on Minister for State for Defence Paul Kehoe to publish documents to prove that two naval vessels are currently docked for maintenance and not because of crew shortages.

The two vessels, the LÉ Eithne and the LÉ Orla are currently docked at Haulbowline in Cork but the argument has arisen as to why they are there.

Minister Paul Kehoe denies it is because of staff shortages and says the vessels are undergoing maintenance

However Fianna Fail’s spokesman on Defence, Jack Chambers, has said the maintenance schedule for both ships should be published by Mr Kehoe to prove his claims.

Mr Chambers claimed that Minister Kehoe had effectively undermined Vice Admiral Mark Mellett and the head of the Naval Service, Commander Mick Malone.

In a newsletter to Defence Forces personnel, Cmdr Malone cited manpower shortages for the decision to dock the ships.

However over the weekend Minister Kehoe stated that Mr Mellett told him the docking of the ships was for planned maintenance

It is reported that Sources within the Defence Forces said they were surprised by the remarks as they appeared to directly contradict previous comments from the Defence Forces.

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