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O’Brien calls for government to halt plans to close 26-counties army barracks

15 November, 2011 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking following reports that the government plans to close army barracks in the 26-counties, Sinn Féin defence spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said it would be a retrograde step to contemplate further closures of barracks in towns that are already suffering from distress of rising unemployment and emigration.
The Cork North Central TD said:
“This is not the time to compound that suffering with closures which are the equivalent of closing medium-sized factories. Sinn Féin is opposed to any further closure or consolidation of 26-counties Defence Forces barracks and any possible further reduction in personnel at this time.
“The vast majority of these personnel are an important and integral part of the local community as well as serving in the Defence Forces. They and their families contribute millions of euro to the local economy and any closure or further consolidation would depress those local economies, already suffering from this government’s failure to create jobs.
“The Defence Forces are a vital component of our emergency services, as was shown by their expert work during the severe weather conditions. During the recent flooding in Cork the Defence Forces came to the fore and the skill and expertise with which they handled that issue and the way they interacted with local communities was to be welcomed. It is clearly an advantage to have a spread of such expertise throughout the state, in particular given the changing weather conditions and the possibility of further floods.
“These closures could cost up to €8.5million at a time when the state should be investing money in communities rather than actively damaging them. I am calling on the government to protect these barracks as important sources of employment in their Comprehensive Review of Expenditure.”

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