The Barracks to be Closed:
500 soldiers are directly affected by the decision to close four barracks in Mullingar, Clonmel, Cavan and Castlebar. This will mean that there will be almost no significant military barracks left on the border.
The 170 members of the 4th Field Artillery based at Columb Barracks Mullingar (the Irish Army’s only artillery barracks), will now move to Athlone. The Mullingar Chamber of Commerce has said that the decision will cost the town between €8m and €10m in lost revenue.
200 soldiers are based at Kickham Barracks Clonmel. Part of the 12th Infantry Battalion located there will join the rest of the Battalion in Limerick.
Staff attached to the Headquarters of Defence Forces Reserve in Clonmel are likely to move to the Curragh, while soldiers with the headquarters of the Military Police will probably move to the Curragh or to Newbridge. The 130 members of 6th Infantry Battalion based at Dun Ui Neill, Cavan, (a modern, purpose-built barracks, constructed in the 1980’s, will join the rest of the Battalion in Athlone.
Cavan Barracks is a Newly built barracks:
The Cavan facility is the only operational barracks built since the foundation of the State. It is the most economical barracks in the country, with running costs of €200,000 per annum, which includes maintenance, utilities, electricity, heating and transport fuels. It is also a major Reserve Defence Forces training centre. Other FCA centres throughout counties Cavan and Leitrim were merged into Dún Uí Néill to provide more modern training facilities
Some 120 personnel from A company, sixth battalion of the western command are based in Cavan and an additional 22 personnel are currently serving on the United Nations mission in southern Lebanon. The facilities of the barracks are available to the local community with a well-equipped gymnasium and other sporting facilities.
The Reserve Defence Force barracks in Castlebar is also closing. This will affect 15 members of the Permanent Defence Forces – it is not yet clear where they will be relocated.
Closures Increase Costs:
The closure of these and other barracks could cost more than €8.5 million, according to Defence Forces’ documents seen by The Irish Times. Confidential barrack consolidation reports, relating to the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar, and Kickham Barracks in Clonmel, show that the transfers to Custume Barracks in Athlone and Sarsfield Barracks in Limerick could cost up to €2.84 million and €5.75 million respectively.
The confidential report on the transfer from Mullingar to Athlone shows facilities to accommodate soldiers could cost €271,000 in the short term. These would include additional office space, a regimental headquarters and training rooms in 13 prefabs, locker facilities and storage areas. In the long term, new accommodation could cost €2.57 million. This includes an estimated €1 million to provide 60 bed spaces, €600,000 for a new locker block and €250,000 for training rooms, the report shows.
The barrack consolidation report for the transfer from Clonmel to Limerick shows short-term costs of €250,000 to include €100,000 to accommodate lockers and €50,000 to purchase 12 containers for armoury and stores.
The long-term costs of this transfer would come to €5.5 million, the report says. Costs would include the refurbishment and extension of the existing armoury for €1 million, €1 million for a new workshop and €1 million for offices.
A spokesman for the Department of Defence said the total costs of providing additional facilities in the receiving barracks arising from the four most recent closures at Letterkenny, Lifford, Longford and Monaghan amounted to about €3 million. “There is no reason to believe that the cost of any future closures would not be along the same lines,” he said.
The Government is fully implementing the 2009 McCarty Report, which recommended that the Defence Forces shed 500 personnel, close more Army barracks and close the Army Equitation School.
Penrose quits Cabinet over barracks closure, RTE News, Tuesday, 15 November 2011 -
Motion – Dún Úi Néill Barracks, October 18th 2011 -
Seanad debates, Kildare Street.com, Tuesday, 27 September 2011 –
Army barrack closures could cost more than €8.5m Monday, by Fiona Gartland, Irish Times, November 14th, 2011 -http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1114/1224307527627.html