A renewal of recruitment would be a great boost for Athlone, according to local TD Gabrielle McFadden.
Speaking during Minister for Agriculture and Defence, Simon Coveney’s visit to Custume Barracks on Monday, Deputy McFadden said that a new recruitment drive would mean a real boost for the town and the surrounding region. “Increased numbers of soldiers here in Athlone means more families living here. It is good for the vibrancy of the community and good for local businesses,” she added.
McFadden added that she would use her time in the Dáil this term to highlight Custume Barracks and a need for more recruits. “The Government stated its commitment to the future of Custume Barracks when it stationed the air ambulance service there in 2012. To hear Minister Coveney commit to the future of the barracks again this week is really good news. I plan to use the new Dáil term to raise the prospect of a recruitment drive with Minister Coveney again and I look forward to working with him on what would be a very positive development for Athlone.”
Minister Coveney visited Athlone on Monday September 15 to review the personnel of the 46th Infantry Group in Custume Barracks.
Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Denis Harrington, formerly Officer Commanding 6th Infantry Battalion Custume Barracks Athlone, the 130 troops of the 46th Infantry Group have been in training for the past number of weeks and are scheduled to deploy to the Golan Heights mission area in Syria later this month with the United Nations Disengagement Observations Force (UNDOF ). Seven members of the contingent are from Westmeath.
The contingent has a wide range of capabilities affording excellent operational effectiveness. These include armoured force protection, patrolling and mobility, communications, medical and operational expertise. They will constitute the Force Reserve Company of an overall UNDOF Mission strength of 1,250 troops. Other states contributing military personnel to the mission include Fiji Islands, Philippines, India, and Nepal.
Drawn primarily from Leinster and Connacht, the 46th Infantry Group will replace the 44th Infantry Group who deployed last March.