Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said the Minister for Defence is completely failing to manage the resources of the Defence Forces properly.
Deputy Troy said: “The situation regarding Columb Barracks is a stunning example of Minister Shatter’s mismanagement since coming into office. Instead of using a State-owned barracks to house and train the Reserve Defence Forces in Mullingar the Minister is spending €25,000 a year to rent another facility in the town.
“Having the Reserves in Mullingar is a huge plus for the town which has a long standing tradition of supporting and serving the Defence Forces. However it’s farcical to for the Government to be renting a private site which does not have the appropriate facility for the necessary training while a perfectly suitable building lies empty.
“This underlines the point I have made all along on relation to the closure of Columb Barracks. Minister Shatter’s decision was short-sighted and wrong.
“The Minister has since confirmed to me in response to a Parliamentary Question that ‘security measures have been in place at Columb Barracks since its closure.’ He has also conceded that ‘no substantial progress has been made towards achieving a sale.’
“So since the Minister took the decision to close Columb Barracks the State has been paying for security at the barracks, rent on another facility and has failed to secure a meaningful resource for the Barracks. If this is Minister Shatter’s idea of reform and greater efficiency it doesn’t bode well for the future of our Defence Forces and the Gardaí.”