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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 25 January 2022

Renting new bases to replace barracks will save €1million – Shatter

The Minister said leasing separate training facilities in towns whose barracks shut down would cut costs significantly.

Minister Alan Shatter
Minister Alan Shatter
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

RENTING NEW MILITARY training facilities in towns where Defence Forces barracks were controversially closed down will save the Government more than €1million, according to the Minister for Justice.

It emerged last week that the Department of Defence was seeking to rent new premises in Cavan, Mullingar, Castlebar and Clonmel – all home to State-owned barracks which will be closed down next month.

No use has yet been designated for the barracks premises, and the Government has not stated an intention to sell them off.

However, Minister Alan Shatter said leasing premises for use by the Reserve Defence Forces would be far more cost-effective than keeping the old barracks open.

He said closing the four barracks down would save €1.3million a year in light, heat, repairs and security. The Department of Defence currently rents 40 premises for reserve units – 10 full-time and 30 part-time – at a total cost of less than €100,000 a year, he added.

On this basis, it is simply absurd to contend that there is an economic argument for keeping a full barracks open to cater for a Reserve Unit that may only train for a few hours once or twice a week.

The Minister added that the barracks closures would also lead to an “efficiency gain” worth around €5million, as staff would be freed up from routine barracks duties for other operational matters.

More: Dept of Defence looking for new bases in four towns where barracks closed>

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Michael Freeman

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