Barracks Closures in Border Counties Questionable

On January 30th 2009, Longford Barracks was closed. The closure proceeded despite protests by locals, who expressed concerns about the economic impact of the closure on the locality. In January, barracks in Lifford and Letterkenny were closed with Monaghan Barracks also being shut.

The closures were announced on budget day 2008, the four barracks were to be shut by 31 January 2009 and St. Bricin’s Military Hospital in Dublin 7 is to close at a later date. The personnel affected have been re-deployed to other barracks. The total number of personnel involved is approximately 650 military plus 40 civilian personnel.

Gerry Rooney, PDFORRA General secretary stated: “The closures will cause disruption to the soldiers stationed at the barracks concerned and will see between €6 million and €12 million lost to the local economies in north Donegal, Longford and Monaghan. In PDFORRAs view the closures are not necessary and will not contribute any additional money to the Government. Indeed, in the short term it will most likely see an increase in spending to up-grade barracks to accommodate those who are moved as a result of the closures. “

‘The closure of St Bricin’s Hospital and its relocation to the DFTC could see the Defence Forces Medical Corps lose the specialist’s medical services provided by St Bricin’s which would undermine support for Defence Forces operations and the personnel who provide them.’

The main question is, however, given the deteriorating security situation, why four large barracks on the border were closed in the first place. They should be re-opened to ensure effective border security as has been done in the past.

Sources:

http://pdforra.ie/News/index.php/2008/10/16/pdforra-criticises-closure-of-four-barracks-in-donegal-longford-and-monaghan-as-well-as-main-military-hospital/

http://www.oneconnect.ie/content/view/69/17/

http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0129/longford.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/1024/1224715116100.html

http://www.budget.gov.ie/2009/financialstatement.html

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