Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has again called on Defence Minister Alan Shatter to immediately clarity if Custume Barracks in Athlone will remain as the headquarters for the Western Brigade.

Deputy Troy said: “The Minister for Defence has ultimate responsibility for the decision that will be taken in relation to the future of Custume Barracks.  The Minister must be clear and upfront with the community.  There are genuine fears and strong rumours that its headquarter-status is going to go.  This cannot be allowed to happen and can be stopped if there is the political will to do it.

“The Minister seemed to have more than enough authority over the Defence Forces to ensure there were no members of the Dáil at Custume Barracks this week for the launch of the Emergency Aeromedical Service but for members of this own party, surely he can act to alleviate the concerns of the community over the status of the barracks.

The Western Brigade includes Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, Engineers, Communications and Transport and is responsible for Cavan, Leitrim, Donegal, Offaly, Galway, Longford, Roscommon, Sligo as well as County Westmeath.

Deputy Troy concluded: “I note that Deputy James Bannon has written to Minister Alan Shatter on the matter.  Perhaps the deputy’s time would be better spent if he spoke to his party colleague in person as a matter of urgency instead of seeking personal publicity on an issue that is very serious and sensitive to the people of Athlone.  The Government has already closed Columb Barracks and another blow to the community will not be tolerated.”