By Deputy General Secretary

Speaking at the PDFORRA Annual
Delegate Conference in Athlone last night, Gerry Rooney, General Secretary,
“the planned closure of barracks at Mullingar and Cavan makes little economic sense.   PDFORRA sees no need for any barrack closures as it damages the local economies of the towns where barracks are situated. In the case of Cavan its planned closure will see approximately €5 million lost to the local area.  In return the closure will deliver savings to the State of less than €200,000 per annum – indeed the figure may be even less. Because the matter of barrack closure is outside the scope of representation, PDFORRA is not consulted on any closures. If we were consulted we could assist the Department in identifying comparable savings which may negate the need to close any barracks” ‘There have been so many barrack closures in recent yeras. If the current graph of closures continues, we will all be living in a tented village on the Curragh plains, by the 2030’s. Since the mid-1990s a total of 8 major barracks have closed, leaving a total now of 16. This is by no means an excessive number given the numbers serving in the Defence Forces and also the high demand for accommodation and training facilities which the organisation needs’

‘The fact that the closure has been announced gives PDFORRA the opportunity to work on a range of issues which always arise from barrack closures – indeed the Croke Park Agreement provides for negotiations on these matters. The foremost issue is that those facing barrack closures should receive reasonable notice of closure. This will allow
them to make arrangements for the new situation in areas such as transport; housing; childcare and crucially whether they should remain in the PDF given the 1st March 2012 pension deadline. PDFORRA wishes to get on with discussions and will seek to initiate the establishment of the relevant sub-committee under the Croke Park Agreement’.

Rooney said, “I attended the public meeting in Mullingar last week where the community expressed its opposition to the closure of Columb Barracks. It was made very clear by the politicians present that Mullingar’s closure was on the verge of being announced. The really difficult thing about this proposed closure is that those who work in the barracks were not being afforded the same right to be informed about their future, as had been advocated by Government in regard to the Talk Talk workers in Waterford. I
think this is disgraceful”


“To conclude on this matter, I wish to return to the question of alternative savings in the context of barrack closures. Each closure will eventually save a maximum of €200,000 though in the short term this figure will not be achieved because of building works at the new stations and change of station allowances. A ready alternative to the
Mullingar closure already exists in the form of unscheduled exercises; with one of these ongoing at the moment here in the 4th (Western) Brigade”.





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