The Dáil has been told that the LÉ Aisling cost the Naval Service €380,000 to maintain from June 2016 to April of this year.

The vessel was bought by a ship broker in March for €110,000 but it is now being re-sold at a reported price of €685,000. 

The decommissioned vessel was bought by a Dutch ship broker who described the purchase as a gamble. 

The Department of Defence has said there was no reserve price set for the auction and no external valuation was sought before the sale.

In the Dáil this afternoon Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny why the taxpayer did not get a better price for the vessel, why a reserve price was not set and why no independent valuation was sought?

The Taoiseach said the auction, which was carried out in Cork, "was advertised by the ships auctioneer in the international publication Trade Winds, the shipping and maritime news publication, and the Afloat magazine."

Mr Kenny added that, "Following its withdrawal from naval service, the retention of the LÉ Aisling in the naval base in Haulbowline was creating considerable pressure on the naval service resources, including berthage space.

"The retention of the vessel since its decommissioning from June of last year to April this year, cost approximately €370,000 for the assignment of a skeleton crew and approximately €10,000 on tug hire costs." 

Eight weeks after purchasing it at auction, Dick van der Kamp is now advertising the ship for resale.

One maritime website quotes the price at €685,000 - six times the price paid to the State.

The Department of Defence said that the market was too difficult to obtain a valuation before the sale.

The department added that scrap dealers did attend the auction but declined to bid and the prevailing market determined the price achievable.

Fine Gael TD and Public Accounts Committee member Alan Farrell has said he expects the issue of the sale to be raised at the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Farrell said he has a number of concerns in relation to the disposal and there will be opportunities in the Dáil and the Seanad in the coming weeks "to illuminate some of the issues, including why there was no valuation in the first place."

Another PAC member, Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said in a statement: "I will be raising this issue at the next meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, along with the concerns of PDFORRA that a higher reserve price was not set.

"We need to establish whether the State got a fair price from the deal." 

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Fianna Fail's spokesperson on Defence Lisa Chambers said the minister needs to answer questions and the department needs to provide more detail on the sale and whether they explored alternative options to the sale, that might have realised a better return to the State. 

Deputy Mayor of Galway, Fine Gael's Pearse Flannery, said: ""We sold a ship for the price of a car".

Mr Flannery said when it was being decommissioned as a naval vessel, he requested the LÉ Aisling be gifted to the people of Galway as a floating museum.

However, providing a costed business plan became "an insurmountable task" in the time-frame requested by the Department of Defence.