No decision yet on closure of Army barracks

Thursday 20 October 2011 19.29
The future of Columb Barracks in Mullingar is in doubt
The future of Columb Barracks in Mullingar is in doubt

Representatives of the Save Columb Barracks Committee from Mullingar have met the Minister for Defence.

The group, which includes soldiers' families, discussed proposals to close the Department of Defence campus with Alan Shatter at Leinster House.

The group described the 90-minute meeting as a "very frank and open exchange of views".

In a statement, they said the delegation received an assurance from the minister that no Army barracks decisions have yet been made.

However, the minister emphasised that his department is under huge pressure to achieve cost savings and that these savings must be made, the statement said.

The group said the minister stressed that in order to maintain a 9,500 strong Army, his department must try saving in the defence area.

Mr Shatter promised to engage again with the Mullingar representatives if their barrack is short-listed for closure.

The meeting was arranged by local TDs and it is understood the protesters were joined by defence analyst Declan Power, who is advising them on the future of the barracks.

Representatives of a committee set up in Cavan to oppose the closure of the barracks there were due to meet Mr Shatter this afternoon.

Elsewhere, the group representing members of the Defence Forces have questioned Government claims that the closure of barracks could save €5m.

PDFORRA Deputy General Secretary Simon Devereux said the suggestion was very much wide of the mark.