A military museum in Mullingar would be a major tourist attraction for the town, according to councillors.
Speaking at the final meeting of Mullingar Town Council last week, Cllr Ken Glynn said such a museum would be a fitting legacy to the outgoing councillors.
“The closure of Columb Barracks is still one of the biggest issues for Mullingar. We deserve to see a military museum in the town - in Columb Barracks if possible. Families are quite distressed that memorabilia [which they donated] is sitting in Athlone.
“If it’s the last thing we do as a town council we should put a push on the Department [of Defence] and get in touch with the new Minister.”
Cllr Ruth Illingworth pointed out that the vast majority of the artefacts which had been in the museum in Columb Barracks were donated by people who served in the Army in Mullingar.
“We have a very proud military history, and our military heritage is still an important part of this town. Many people come seeking information about their ancestors who served in the barracks here,” she said.
Cllr Mick Dollard suggested “thinking bigger” and combining the history of St Loman’s Hospital, Irish Rail, and Columb Barracks together in one museum.
“We need a local group of people in Mullingar to come together. It needs a mixture of voluntary and statutory support. If we had a very proactive local group representing those three interests, there would be a greater chance of success regarding Government funding,” he said.
The council is to write to county manager Pat Gallagher and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who is currently responsible for the Defence portfolio, in an attempt to progress the museum.