Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon has today expressed his hope that the consolidation of Army Barracks confirmed this week will maximize the effectiveness of the Defence Forces and help to ensure that the force can remain at a strength of 9,500.
“The closure of barracks in Cavan, Mullingar, Clonmel and Castlebar is a key step in the ongoing Defence modernisation programme and has been recommended in many reports over the last number of years” Heydon stated.
The barracks are expected to be closed by 30th March 2012. Over 500 personnel in the barracks will be re-deployed to alternative locations, including the Curragh. “The location of army personnel in many different locations has given rise to difficulties in the provision of essential training, particularly exercises involving large numbers of personnel, as well as increasing costs. In these difficult times, the closures announced will enhance the flexibility available to the Defence Forces in the use of their resources, both human and financial” stated Heydon.
While it will cause disruption for many soldiers and their families, Deputy Heydon, speaking in the Dail was hopeful that this consolidation will strengthen the force and allow a new recruitment drive to ensure that the total number of defence force personnel would not drop below the strategically important figure of 9,500 troops. “These closures will generate annual savings of €1.3m which will take pressure off other areas of the department and should allow us to protect and strengthen the Defence Forces”.
Contact: Martin Heydon 087-6262546