Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (135)

Willie Penrose


135. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if in the context of a further organisational review of Defence Forces facilities and the utilisation thereof, it is planned to reopen Columb Barracks, Mullingar, for troop deployments and accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16661/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The barracks consolidation programme which was completed in the earlier part of this decade, and which included the closure of the former Columb Barracks, has resulted in an enhancement of the operational readiness and deployability of Defence Forces personnel. The Defence Forces keep operational plans under constant review and I am satisfied that the operational readiness and deployability of the Defence Forces is such that it can respond effectively to wherever they are required in this State. There are no plans to open any new military installations and I am satisfied that to do so would cause a range of unnecessary inefficiencies, including an increased administrative burden from the need to introduce a layer of non-operational barracks management and security which would adversely affect the operational effectiveness and overall deployability of the Defence Forces.

Furthermore, in relation to the former Columb Barracks, the Land Development Agency (LDA) has confirmed to my Department that it is interested in acquiring this property for developmental purposes.  My Department has commenced the necessary background work in this context.

Regarding troop accommodation, the Defence Forces' Built Infrastructure Programme is designed to modernise and enhance the existing training, operational and accommodation facilities available to members of the Defence Forces. The Programme is based upon operational requirements that are addressed on a priority needs basis.