Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence Dara Calleary TD has the closure of the army barracks in Mullingar, Clonmel, Cavan and Castlebar would be an extremely costly mistake. Deputy Calleary was reacting to reports that the Cabinet has today approved the closure of these barracks.
“What we are seeing today is the start of a damaging agenda from Defence Minister Alan Shatter to shut down a number of key army and garda facilities across the country,” said Deputy Calleary. “This strategy is without cause and without benefit. In fact, the cost to the exchequer and to the communities affected will be far greater than any savings made.
“According to figures obtained by the Irish Times, the closure of the army barracks in Mullingar and Clonmel alone could cost more than €8.5 million. The Defence Forces have estimated that when transfer costs are taken into account, shutting down Columb Barracks in Mullingar could cost over €2.8 million, while closing Kickham Barracks in Clonmel could cots €5.75 million.
“The people of Mullingar in particular should feel let down by this Government. The Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore made a direct promise to them that he would keep Columb barracks open. Now it appears he is breaking this promise with enormous social and economic consequences to the community.
“It is up to the Fine Gael and Labour TDs in Westmeath, Tipperary, Cavan and Mayo where to the barracks are set to close to fight for their communities as they promised they would do. Their voters did not elect them to be silent in Government and stand idly by while Minister Alan Shatter pursues an agenda that has such an enormous local cost attached,” said Deputy Calleary.