Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran
An Athlone councillor has said this week that the job losses at Custume Barracks will be much higher than Defence Minister Alan Shatter has claimed.
Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said while 1,000 jobs may be maintained in Athlone in the immediate future, not all of these will be full-time posts, with in excess of 250 of these simply being attachments, meaning the people can be moved at any time.
Cllr Moran explained that while in the region of 700 personnel would call Custume Barracks their home station, meaning it is their permanent base, over 250 would only be attached to Custume Barracks and can be moved at any time by their Officer Commanding, who under the new brigade structure, will be based in Dublin. The commanding officer can decide to redeploy these staff where they see fit at any point in time.
"I know for a fact that more than 250 full-time posts will be lost to Athlone immediately when it loses brigade status," said Cllr Moran.
"I also know for a fact that the Cavalry Squadron, which was moved here from Longford, will be disbanded and as a direct result of this the numbers of rank and file members will be reduced over time."
Cllr Moran pointed out that Minister Shatter had issued the directive to the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces to reorganise the force from a three-brigade organisation to a two-brigade one in advance of a Green Paper process, which would have allowed for consultation on the matter.
"The Government has not taken a decision as yet and I am calling on the 38 members of the Dáil from the west and the Midlands to request the Cabinet to pause the process until the promised independent study is completed and has produced its recommendations," concluded Cllr Moran.