Fianna Fáil TD for Longford/Westmeath, Robert Troy, has demanded that Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, outline what site in Westmeath will locate the reserve defence forces in Mullingar.
Deputy Troy asked the Minister for Defence about the progress that he has made, through a parliamentary question, securing alternative premises for the reserve defence forces following his decision to close Columb Barracks in Mullingar, County Westmeath.
“The response from the Minister is wholly unacceptable. The barracks is due to close next Friday and all that we are told is the reserve defence forces in Mullingar will be housed in rented accommodation. Does this mean they will be in a number of sites or just one? How long will this arrangement last? There is a week to go before the barracks closes and nobody has an idea of where the reserve defence forces will be housed, as no decision has been made yet.
“This is a disgraceful situation and it smacks of arrogance from a government that has shown nothing but contempt in dealing with this situation. The barracks should not have been closed in the first place, I would be shocked if the saving they make by closing the barracks is not lost on the rent on the temporary accommodation for the reserve defence forces and for securing the unoccupied barracks.
“There are not many sites in Mullingar or Westmeath that can house the reserve defence force and with equipment and adequate space issues, this is another decision the government has got drastically wrong.
“The Minister needs to clearly outline his plan for reserve defence forces and let them remain in barracks until alternative accommodation is sought. The manner in which the Minister is treating men and women who serve voluntarily in the reserve defence forces is wholly unacceptable.”