Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (103, 104, 105, 106, 107)

Jack Wall

Question:

232 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the reason that account was not taken of the representations of the townspeople and business community of Kildare town regarding the Kildare town development plan, and to the commitments to the community of Kildare, when it was announced without prior notice in 2003 that Magee Barracks, Kildare, was designated as a location for social and affordable housing. [3120/04]

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Jack Wall

Question:

233 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence in view of his commitment to the citizens of Kildare town to provide for the proper and balanced development of Kildare, following the closure of Magee Barracks in 1998, if he will make a statement on the matter, given that the commitment is not now being honoured. [3122/04]

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Jack Wall

Question:

237 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence if the purpose for closing Magee Barracks in Kildare in 1998 was to sell the property on the open market to obtain the best price to provide funding for the reinvestment in the infrastructure of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3124/04]

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Jack Wall

Question:

239 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the reason for the proposed handover of property, namely Magee Barracks, Kildare, to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for social and affordable housing, when Magee Barracks is the most suitable location at least cost to the taxpayer for the headquarters of the decentralised Department of Defence. [3126/04]

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Jack Wall

Question:

240 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence his views in relation to a submission (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 232, 233, 237, 239 and 240 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the Government decided on 1 July 2003 that Magee Barracks, Kildare, would be among the State lands released to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for inclusion in the Sustaining Progress affordable housing initiative. The intention is that this initiative will be targeted at those who in the past would have expected to purchase a house from their own resources but find that they are unable to do so in the current market. The release of State lands under this initiative is a critical first step in ensuring early delivery of affordable housing units. With regard to Magee Barracks, the modalities of the transfer of the property to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government are under active consideration. The future development of this site is a matter for that Department and Kildare County Council.