There are no plans to close Custume Barracks in Athlone, the Minister for Defence said yesterday.
Independent Deputy for Roscommon Denis Naughten raised with issue with the Minister for Agriculture, Food, Marine and Defence Simon Coveney, amid local rumours in relation to the future of the Barracks.
In a written response to a parliamentary question, the Minister stated, “I am aware that there have been recent rumours that there are plans to close Custume Barracks. These rumours cause unnecessary worry to military personnel and their families and are totally unfounded. I would like to reassure all concerned that there are no plans to close any barracks. Custume Barracks, Athlone is and will continue to be an important operational military barracks.”
Minister Coveney said, “There has been considerable capital investment at Custume Barracks, Athlone in recent years, amounting to some €6.38 million from 2009 to-date. The most recent major projects undertaken at the barracks include investment of €932,000 in the construction of Armoured Vehicle Garaging facilities, €1.8 million investment in a gymnasium and an upgrading of gas and water main facilities including the provision of new underground services and associated works, at a cost of €597,000.”
He said that ongoing works are required to ensure the upkeep and repair of buildings and the provision of facilities generally for personnel.
In the wake of the comments, Deputy Naughten said, “While I have no doubt as to the sincerity of the Minister’s response, I believe the real risk is to the actual number of personnel to be retained, in the long term at Custume Barracks, as a result of the loss of the Brigade HQ status.The fight continues!”