Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, has this week reiterated his commitment to Custume Barracks.
The Minister did so after receiving a deputation of local representatives from Athlone and Roscommon last Thursday (November 5 ) to discuss the future of the facility.
Organised by Deputy McFadden, the cross-party delegation met Minister Coveney in his Department. Westmeath County Council was represented by Mayor Tom Farrell (FG ), Cllr Aengus O’Rourke (FF ), Cllr Kevin “Boxer” Moran (Ind ), and Cllr Paul Hogan (SF ).
“Minister Coveney told the councillors that he is asked by me on an almost daily basis as to the need to ensure the long-term future of Custume Barracks for Athlone and the region,” Deputy McFadden said after the meeting.
“The Minister repeated his commitment to the barracks at today’s meeting and informed the delegation that the restructuring was over, and accordingly, there would be no more changes. He also said that it was military advice that the 2-Brigade structure would stay in place and said it is a structure that is working.”
Minister Coveney also told councillors that while the White Paper is a 10 year plan for the Defence Forces, he is not opposed to a mid-term of review of the structures of the Defence Forces. During the discussions, the delegation was told that the permanent air ambulance service, based at the barracks, was working very well and saving lives across the region.
The Minister said he would also get his officials to look at the the possibility of the planned Military Museum at Custume Barracks opening to the public on certain days, a step proposed by Fianna Fáil Councillor Frankie Keena at last week’s Municipal District Meeting and supported by his fellow councillors.