Daly questions GAA use of Mullingar barracks

Wednesday 18 June 2014 22.57
Clare Daly said she wanted to know how much the GAA was paying for the use of the barracks
Clare Daly said she wanted to know how much the GAA was paying for the use of the barracks

Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe has criticised Mick Wallace and Clare Daly for labelling the GAA the "Grab All Association" during this morning's Ministers' Questions in the Dáil.

Ms Daly said she finds it "quite shocking" that a former army barracks in Mullingar is being taken over by Westmeath GAA and questioned what the "Grab All Association" will pay for it.

Mr Kehoe was taking Minister for Defence questions on behalf of the Taoiseach when the United Left Alliance TD made the charge against the GAA.

Mr Wallace had "whispered" the term to Ms Daly, Mr Kehoe claimed.

Ms Daly asked about the security expenditure on four army barracks that have been closed in the Government's lifetime and if the Government intends to put these premises to active use.

She said that over €500,000 has been spent on security for Kickham Barracks in Clonmel, O'Neill Barracks in Cavan, Columb Barracks in Mullingar and Mitchel Barracks in Castlebar since they were closed.

In his response, Mr Kehoe said that plans are in the offing for Columb Barracks to be developed as a Centre for Excellence for Westmeath GAA.

Ms Daly suggested that the barracks should be used as a national emergency training centre.

Mr Kehoe said that a one-year lease has been signed with Westmeath GAA County Board for the use of part of the barracks as a Centre of Excellence for the development of Gaelic Games in the county.

Following on from this arrangement, an agreement had been reached in principle for a long-term lease with Westmeath GAA board for the whole of the barracks and this will be put in place shortly.

Ms Daly asked: "Could you confirm, are you actually saying that the GAA are going to take over the whole lot of it and if you are I would like to see it published, how much they are going to pay for it."

She said that the Department of Defence is spending €180,000 on security for the site.

Mr Kehoe said there are direct cash savings of approximately €1.3m per annum in the four barracks.

Keywords: gaa, mullingar