Thursday, 5 February 2004

Questions (58, 59)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

57 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the extent to which the housing requirements of Army overholders have been met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3532/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

Personnel on being discharged from the Permanent Defence Force are obliged to vacate married quarters within a short period of the date of their discharge. The provision of housing is primarily a matter for the local authorities and married military personnel have an equal claim on such housing to other members of the community in the same income category.

The individuals overholding 54 married quarters were written to in August 2002 and requested to vacate the properties. To date five of the quarters have been vacated and one other has been purchased by the occupant. A further ten of the properties have been offered for sale and a number of those sales are likely to be finalised in the near future. My Department is continuing to examine all options, including affordable housing and voluntary and co-operative housing schemes, for the rehousing of those overholders, who would in the normal way be eligible for local authority housing. The Department will remain in contact with the overholders pending resolution of the issue.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

58 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Defence the total realised from the disposal of military barracks or other installations closed down in 1998; the number of such installations yet to be disposed of; the cost of maintenance, security or other fees to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3533/04]

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On 15 July 1998 the Government approved a programme of evacuation and sale of six barracks considered surplus to military requirements. The barracks in question are located at Ballincollig, Fermoy, Castleblayney, Naas, Kildare and Clancy Barracks, Dublin. The sale of approximately 91 acres comprising Lot 1, Murphy Barracks, Ballincollig, to O'Flynn Construction for €41 million was completed in 2003. In addition, the sale of Lot 2 to the sitting tenant for €1.05 million — my Department's reversionary interest in approximately 6.2 acres of the barrack lands — was completed last year. A further area comprising more than 27 acres at Murphy Barracks will be handed over to Cork County Council for community use. Agreements have also been reached for the sale of a site, comprising about 2.7 acres, to the Southern Heath Board and a further plot of around 1.7 acres to the Department of Education and Science; receipts in excess of €2.8 million will accrue to my Department in respect of those disposals. An area comprising 0.545 acres has been set aside on foot of a request from the Office of Public Works for a plot of ground to facilitate extension of the existing Garda station located on Main Street, Ballincollig. My Department is in correspondence with the OPW on arrangements for transfer of the lands concerned, including the matter of a consideration therefor.

A plot of 19.218 acres at the former Fitzgerald Camp, Fermoy, was sold to Cork County Council in 2001 for €973,889 for development in conjunction with the IDA. Castleblayney Military Post, Monaghan, comprising approximately 10 acres, was sold to the North Eastern Health Board for €761,843. Seven acres at Devoy Barracks, Naas, County Kildare, were ceded free of charge to Naas Urban District Council, while a further 14 acres were sold to that authority for €8,888,167. The balance of the barracks lands — one acre — was sold to Kildare County Council for €380,921. Magee Barracks, Kildare, comprises an area of 65 acres. At present approximately 15 acres of the property are being used by the reception and integration agency of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to accommodate asylum seekers and a further site comprising one acre approximately is being used by Kildare County Council as a temporary halting site for 20 persons. On 1 July 2003, the Government decided to release this property to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for inclusion in a new affordable housing initiative agreed under the national partnership agreement, Sustaining Progress. An offer of €25.4 million was accepted from Florence Properties Limited for the sale of Clancy Barracks, Dublin, comprising 13.65 acres approximately. A contract of sale was exchanged in December 2003.

The security, maintenance, consultancy and other costs to date in respect of those barracks identified for closure in 1998 are as follows:

Security

Maintenance and other costs

Murphy Barracks, Ballincollig #

1,451,418

257,113*

Fitzgerald Camp, Fermoy #

330,813

42,633

Castleblayney Military Post #

131,289

10,548

Devoy Barracks, Naas #

472,654

16,959

Magee Barracks, Kildare #

123,291

15,677

Clancy Barracks, Dublin

602,619

177,036

# Now sold or no longer in the administration of my Department (no further costs will be incurred by the Department of Defence).

*Includes costs relating to the integrated area action plan.

On military security duty allowances alone, it is estimated that savings to date amount to almost €2.3 million in respect of the six barracks closed. In addition, there have been significant savings on utility costs, such as telephone, gas, and electricity charges at each of the evacuated barracks, which would have amounted to more than €0.350 million in the case of Murphy Barracks.