The first ever ship built for the Irish Navy is sold at auction and is to be converted into a luxury yacht.

The LÉ Deirdre was built in the Verolme Dockyard Cork in 1971. The vessel has now been stripped of her naval markings and sold to a British company.

Docked at Haulbowline in Cork Harbour, Lt Martin Brett is the last officer to leave the ship. Lt Brett's father, Commodore Liam Brett, was the first commanding officer of the LÉ Deirdre so it is fitting that he is the last.

It maintains a good strong family link and a link between the old navy and the new modern navy.

The LÉ Deirdre went into history when she stopped a gun-running attempt by the Claudia in 1973 which was carrying a huge amount of weapons and ammunition. The Deirdre is now being replaced by new more modern vessels on which her former crew will serve.

The LÉ Deirdre went up for auction today and was sold to British Company Sea Stream International for £100,000. The company plans to convert the ship into a luxury super yacht. John Thompson of Seastream explains that the company had expected to pay a lot more for the ship and would have paid up to half a million pounds. He says that the big appeal of the LÉ Deirdre was that she had the capabilities for worldwide operation.

A ship that has been synonymous with the evolution of the modern naval service is finally to leave Irish waters.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 14 June 2001. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.