Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said “the decision to close Columb Barracks in Mullingar is a stunning and shameful example of the cynical election promises made by Fine Gael and Labour to the people in the midlands.”
“It has now been revealed that the potential cost of Columb Barracks and transferring personnel and accommodating them in Athlone could be up to €2.84 million. This is incredible and must be explained by the Government. The Government has refused to release the information it is using as the basis for this decision.
“I am sorry to see Deputy Willie Penrose resign his Ministerial position today. He is a man of principle for sticking to his word but it is clear that Deputy Penrose and the people of Mullingar were blatantly lied to by the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister Penrose was let down by his Labour colleagues in Cabinet. The Tánaiste should immediately make arrangements to travel to Mullingar and apologise to the people for turning his back on Columb Barracks.
“A report carried in the Irish Times yesterday on confidential documents detailing the potential cost of this decision shows facilities to accommodate soldiers transferred from Mullingar to Athlone could cost €271,000 in the short term and a potential €2.5m in the long-term with new accommodation requirements.
“The Government has shown very little compassion to the concerned communities who depend in many way on the presence of Columb Barracks. In fact the Government has fuelled uncertainty over its future in recent weeks.”
“In light of the Government’s decision to abandon the people of Mullingar and close Columb barracks there will be considerable anxiety about further unnecessary cuts coming down the track. I am calling on the Fine Gael TDs supporting the Government to publicly commit to taking a principled stand similar to that of Deputy Penrose when local services are threatened.”