By Deputy General Secretary

PDFORRA, the association representing soldiers, sailors and aircrew of the Permanent Defence Force, again questions the flawed economic thinking behind the closure of Barracks in Cavan, Mullingar, Clonmel and Castlebar after adverts appeared in local papers recently – seeking to rent property for Defence Forces use in these towns.

Last November when these barrack closures were announced our General Secretary Gerry Rooney said,   “The proposals to close further barracks make no economic sense whatever and will produce little in the way of savings for the State. It will cost at least €8m to execute these closures and the overall savings to the state when we consider unemployment and other costs will be minimal

And yesterday we read a statement for the Minister for Defence saying, “In order to fulfil the requirement to accommodate the reserve units following the closures, my department has placed advertisements in local newspapers in Cavan, Clonmel, Mullingar and Castlebar seeking to put in place suitable accommodation as soon as possible.

Simon Devereux, Deputy General Secretary of PDFORRA said today, “we now ask the Minister to ‘sack his economic adviser’ and re-open these barracks, which should never have been closed. The barracks at Clonmel, Mullingar, Cavan and Castlebar; all have a long and proud tradition of service to the State and engagement with their local communities. And the comments of the Minister Penrose, who resigned over this issue – should perhaps be revisited and reconsidered.

Over the last fifteen years fourteen barracks have been closed out of a total of thirty. Where does this policy end? Are we going to entirely remove the very important contact between community and the Defence Forces, which is created by the availability of regional centres? It is clear that the decision to close four barracks last November was flawed and it should be immediately reversed.




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