Thursday, 5 February 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
202. Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Defence the costs involved or expected in 2009 in maintaining the barracks closed in January 2009; the costs involved in renovating other barracks to accommodate Defence Force personnel and equipment moved from the closed barracks; the calculated additional costs to the Exchequer of the financial supports to members of the Defence Forces necessitated by the move, and all other ancillary costs involved in the closure of barracks in January 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4090/09]
Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): The military authorities conducted a detailed review of the immediate requirements to enable the closure of Monaghan, Lifford, Rockhill and Longford Barracks. In addition to some immediate renovation work, medium term capital works to provide more permanent arrangements for the transferring personnel, have also been identified. These works will be completed as part of the ongoing Capital programme.
There were significant facilities already available in the new locations and this facilitated the smooth and successful implementation of the current consolidation programme. Some additional facilities and some renovations were required across the various barracks. The immediate costs involved in providing the necessary additional facilities at all three locations was less than €500,000.
The cost arising from the barracks closures over 15 months, including the initial renovation works, is estimated at €3.2 million, against annual recurring savings of approximately €2.7 million. Most of these costs are once off and short-term costs arising from payment of Change of Station Allowance and the provision of transport on a temporary basis. In the medium term, based on current estimates, the total cost to the Department of closing the proposed barracks (including initial costs, allowances, transport, immediate works and capital works) should amount to approximately €5.9 million while total receipts/savings, including receipts from the disposal of the relevant properties, should amount to around €29.5 million, a net gain of €23.6 million. The above figures do not take account of the qualitative benefits accruing to the Defence Forces from improvements in collective training, savings on administration and management of the barracks being closed or the costs of currently transporting troops from the barracks being closed for training etc.
The closure of the four barracks was completed on the 30th January 2009 and private security firms have been employed to provide security at the barracks in the short term with effect from the 30th January 2009. As the appointment of these contractors is temporary, for commercial reasons it would be inappropriate to state the cost per week at this stage. It is not anticipated that Private Security firms will need to be employed in the long term. However, my Department will continue to monitor the situation.
The matter of the disposal of this property will be considered in the context of the current property market. It is my intention that the funding and savings from this initiative will, in accordance with current Government policy, again be reinvested in the Defence Forces. My Department will consider all of the options open to it in that regard.
Minister for Defence (Deputy Willie O’Dea): It is anticipated that the barracks closed in January 2009 will be disposed of, taking account of market conditions, so as to maximise the return to the Defence Forces and generate funding for reinvestment in Defence Forces equipment and infrastructure in accordance with Government policy.
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