Less than three months after the Department of Defence announced the closure of the military barracks in Castlebar, they are now looking to rent accommodation in the town to train their reserve forces.
The Department of Defence published adverts in local newspapers seeking to rent property in the county town to train members of the Reserve Defence Forces. Last November the Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter announced the closure of the Castlebar barracks along with barracks in Cavan, Mullingar and Clonmel.
Advertisements seeking to rent property to train the Reserve Defence Forces have been published in local newspapers for all of the four towns. Minister Shatter confirmed that the advertisements had been placed searching for a premises, a decision which Fianna Fáil Defence spokesperson, Dara Calleary described as baffling.
The Ballina-based TD who opposed the closure of the barracks said that the decision to close them was based on cost-saving measures and he could not understand the logic of looking to rent premises in the same town.
“This is just confirmation of the Government’s warped logic in shutting down key army facilities around the country,” said Deputy Calleary.
“On the one hand, Minister Shatter has moved to close the barracks in Cavan, Mullingar, Clonmel and Castlebar while on the other he is searching for another army property in the same towns. People are struggling to see the logic in this,” he said.
Deputy Calleary said the existing barracks would provide the perfect training ground for members of the Defence Forces and the Reservce Defence Forces as they already have all the facilities needed for training.
“The cost of these closures is far greater than any savings that can be achieved. This latest twist shows just how senseless the Government’s barracks closure policy is,” he concluded.
The future of the Castlebar Barracks is still unclear with the Department of Defence reported to be looking for up to €3 million for it. Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Town Council, Cllr Eugene McCormack has explained that discussions over the purchase of the six-acre site have been taking place for a number of years and the Town Council are doing all they can to purchase it.
He was very confident that if the Town Council acquired the barracks it would be put to very good use by the people.