A major campaign to have an Irish Naval vessel named after the Irish Antarctic explorer Tom Crean has been launched.
Tim Foley who is the brainchild behind the campaign believes recognition for Tom Crean, Ireland's Antarctic Hero, is long overdue.
“Almost 100 years since he returned from his expeditions after saving the lives of so many of his colleagues, he's commemorated only in his home town of Annascaul. His epic story was kept in the shadows until the year 2000.”
Crean from Annascaul near Dingle in west Kerry was part of three British Navy expeditions to Antarctica under Robert Scott and Ernest Shakelton earning him a number of medals for bravery.
He famously undertook a 56 km solo walk across the Ross Ice Shelf saving the life of fellow crew man Edward Evans. His actions led him to receive the Albert Medal for life saving.
While Crean has been recognised by internationally for his accomplishments, he is virtually an unsung hero here in Ireland.
A one-man play, Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer, has been widely performed since 2001 by author Aidan Dooley and in 2003 a bronze statue was unveiled in his home village.
Last April the Irishman was honoured by Norwegian air as he became the airlines first non-Norwegian Tail Fin Hero.
A 8,630 foot peak in Victoria land Antarctica bears his name Mount Crean as well as the Crean glacier in South Georgia.
The Navy’s flagship Le Eithne is set to be replaced by a new multi role ship with flight deck.
It’s expected Eithne’s replacement will take up to 3 years before completion.
Mr Foley whose online petition has garnered over 10,000 signatures said “Crean exemplified humanitarianism’ and would be a fitting name. “Since his passing in 1938, his country has not officially recognised him and naming a ship in his honour is an opportunity to right a wrong and satisfy the demands of his growing worldwide following.”
The fourth new vessel for the Irish Navy Fleet LE George Bernard Shaw is expected to begin operations here in August.
When it’s expected both Le Niamh and Roisin will undergo long life refits over a sixteen month programme, costing the state up to €10million each. Each refit will take up to 8 months to complete.
To sign the petition please enter the following link online