Confirmation this evening that the Government is to axe the Western Brigade of the Defence Forces is a devastating blow for Co Westmeath and will have implications right across the West of Ireland, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson of Defence Dara Calleary.


Deputy Calleary said, “The Government has had a commitment to a Green Paper on the future of the Defence Forces for some time now. This announcement today of a major reorganisation completely undermines that process. Given the lack of consultation around this announcement, one wonders what further plans the Government has for the organisation of the army.


“This is essentially a downgrading of the Defence Forces in the West. There are currently 1,400 personnel attached to Custume Barracks and the Government will now only give a commitment to retaining 1,000 of them.   


“I intend to raise this issue with the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter in the Dáil next week. I will also pursue where the Green Paper process now lies.  As a West of Ireland TD myself, I am disgusted that the wonderful tradition of service from the West has been undermined in this way.”