MAYO Deputy Dara Calleary has claimed the closure of the military barracks in Castlebar will prove ‘a costly mistake.’
The Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Defence claimed Minister Alan Shatter is starting a damaging agenda to shut down a number of key army and garda facilities across the country.
He argued: “This strategy is without cause and without benefit. In fact, the cost to the exchequer and to the communities affected will be far greater than any savings made.
“It is up to the Fine Gael TDs in Mayo to fight for their communities as they promised they would do before the last general election.
“Their voters did not elect them to be silent in Government and stand idly by while Minister Alan Shatter pursues an agenda that has such an enormous local cost attached.”
While the closure of such an historic building in Castlebar is widely regretted, they are strong hopes the facility will be acquired by Castlebar Town Council and Mayo County Council for carparking and other key town centre developments.
It is understood negotiations took place some time ago with a view to transferring the property to the local authority for an undisclosed fee.
Castlebar Sinn Féin Councillor Thérèse Ruane condemned the decision An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to close the defence forces barracks in his native Castlebar.
She stated: “This is a disgraceful decision which disrupts the lives of 15 permanent staff, serving defence forces members and their families and leaves them uncertain of their future.
“There will no longer be a reserve defence force unit in Castlebar. The closure of the barracks will deal an economic blow to the town of Castlebar.
“The closure is taking place under the authority of Justice and Defence Minister Alan Shatter and has the support of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
“I urge people to contact both of them and demand they do not to proceed with this closure.
“There is no economic justification for it but many negative economic consequences for Castlebar and the other towns concerned.”