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Fianna Fáil to table Dáil motion against closure of army barracks

Dept of Defence says no government decisions have been made on the closures, which are reported to include barracks in Cavan, Mullingar, Clonmel, Kilkenny and Castlebar.

A Defence Forces training exercise in May 2011.
A Defence Forces training exercise in May 2011.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 12.40pm

FIANNA FÁIL is to table a private members’ motion in the Dáil today against the reported closure of a number of army barracks around the country.

The party’s spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence Dara Calleary has criticised Minister for Defence Alan Shatter for refusing to rule out any such closures.

The barracks in question include those in Cavan, Mullingar, Clonmel, Kilkenny and Castlebar, according to Fianna Fáil.

A spokesperson for Department of Defence told TheJournal.ie that while barracks closure have not been ruled out by the government, no decision has been made on such closures. They added that the government is not compelled by budgetary constraints to substantially reduce the current number of Defence Forces personnel.

“There’s no government decision on that, which would be required,” the spokesperson said.

Calleary said that “recent reports that the government plans to shut these facilities has caused great distress not only to the hundreds of army and civil personnel directly affected, but also to the wider communities”.

The Mayo TD described the barracks as “hubs of economic activity” for the towns they’re based in, adding that the soldiers and their families “are an integral part of the fabric of life” in those towns.

“They support both direct and indirect employment; they generate a demand for local goods and services; and in many cases they are of historical and cultural importance,” he said.

The Mayo TDs says that following the consolidation of defence forces activity in recent years due to the changing security situation in Northern Ireland, there is no need for further barracks closures.

The motion being put forward also opposes the gradual closure of barracks through reductions in personnel and calls on the government “to develop a rational strategy to maximise the effectiveness of the Defence Forces that encompasses their role in the towns they are based”.

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