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The future of Custume Barracks is uncertain as the headquarters for the 4th Western Brigade came under question this week as Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, failed to give a definite answer on which brigades will be kept on under a new two-brigade structure.
It is expected that a suitable new base for the local Reserve Defence Forces in Mullingar will be finalised in the next few weeks, according to the Department of Defence.
Fianna Fáil Defence Spokesperson Dara Calleary has said he is baffled that the Department of Defence is now looking for Army premises in Castlebar, Cavan, Mullingar, and Clonmel after announcing plans to shut down the barracks in each of these towns.
Athlone Town Councillor Paul Hogan has demanded clarity from the Fine Gael Minister for Defence regarding the future of Custume Barracks. The request comes in light of the confirmation that the Fine Gael-led administration will cut the brigade structure from three to two.
Next week marks the 90th anniversary of the handover of Kilkenny’s James Stephens Military Barracks from the occupying British forces to the new Irish Free State Government.
There are still hopes that a new home might be found in Mullingar for some items from the Columb Barracks military museum, in spite of reports that the collection is to be moved to Athlone.
Deputy Nicky McFadden has discussed the issues surrounding the transfer of army personnel from Mullingar to Athlone with Minister for Defence Alan Shatter following the announcement last week that Columb Barracks will be closing.
The Mayor of Kilkenny David Fitzgerald has welcomed the news that Kilkenny’s James Steven’s Barracks is not on the list of barracks to be closed in coming months across the country.
As the 105th Battalion prepare to depart for peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, the future of Kilkenny’s James Stephens Barracks remains hanging in the balance.
Troops from Kilkenny’s James Stephens barracks were training hard in the Glen of Imaal this week, ahead of next month’s deployment to Lebanon.