Written answers

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Department of Defence

Defence Forces Properties

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal North East, Fine Gael)
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10. To ask the Minister for Defence his plans for Rockhill House, Letterkenny, County Donegal, which formerly functioned as an Army barracks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46648/13]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal North East, Fine Gael)
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12. To ask the Minister for Defence his vision for the purpose to be served by Department of Defence buildings that formerly functioned as Irish Army barracks; if he acknowledges the potential of such buildings to be settings for the development of youth facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46649/13]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 12 together.

As the Deputy is aware the Department has been engaged on an ongoing programme of barrack consolidation since 1998. This programme has brought to fourteen the number of barracks closed during that time. To-date nine of these barracks - Clancy (Dublin), Castleblaney, Ballincollig, Fermoy, Naas, Monaghan, Cavan, Castlebar and a large portion of Longford - have been sold.

In relation to the remaining barracks agreement has been reached for the sale of Lifford and Rockhill to Donegal County Council.

Discussions are ongoing in relation to the possible sale of Clonmel Barracks to South Tipperary County Council and the remaining part of Longford has been reserved by the OPW for the local Garda Síochána. Magee Barracks in Kildare and Columb Barracks in Mullingar remain the property of the Department of Defence.

Regarding the remaining Barracks, in accordance with normal procedure for the disposal of State property my Department has written to Government Departments and other Public Bodies seeking expressions of interest in acquiring any of the properties to benefit the local community. Negotiations are well advanced with the Department of Education for the purchase of a site in Magee Barracks of around 20 Acres however there has been no interest in the remainder of the site. No Public Body has expressed an interest in purchasing Columb Barracks in Mullingar.

I am of course aware of the possibilities for the use of surplus Defence Buildings and I would be happy to discuss with any interested group proposals they may have for the purchase and development of the site for the benefit of the local community. However any proposal involving the long term retention of the remaining properties by my Department, administering multiple leases and fulfilling the many responsibilities of a landlord would put a significant administrative and financial burden on my Department. Given the current resources available and the need to provide investment funding for the development of the Defence Forces I do not feel that the multiple leasing of the remaining Barracks Barracks is feasible and does not meet the purpose of the property disposal programme as outlined in the White Paper.

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