The Limerick city TD says he is concerned after the current minister, Alan Shatter said he could not rule out the closure of further army barracks across the country.
In response to a Dail question, Minister Shatter said: “With regard to further barracks closures, the position is that this issue will be kept under constant review. Should the need arise, from an operational position or as a way of utilising scarce resources in a more beneficial way, consideration may be given to the closure of further barracks”.
Deputy O’Dea says he believes that it is irresponsible for the Minister to stoke the fears of people about the future of Sarsfield barracks.
“I’m surprised at Minister Shatter making such a statement that only causes worry and uncertainty for all the people who live and work in the country’s various army barracks. It is an irresponsible comment and one which he needs to immediately clarify.”
The former minister said Minister Shatter’s comments are a cause of concern for soldiers based at Sarsfield Barracks.
“I’ve already had dozens of calls to my office seeking more information about what this will mean for the future of Sarsfield Barracks. A lot of people’s livelihoods are tied to the barracks and for the Minister to be making this kind of comment only puts them on edge. They are now very worried about their future.”
Minister Shatter said their are “no plans” at present to close any barracks but he said: “I cannot give a commitment that there will not be further programmes of barrack consolidation”.
Deputy O’Dea says he believes the minister should clarify the future of Sarsfield Barracks as soon as possible.
“Minister Shatter and the Government have a responsibility to the people of Limerick and everyone associated with Sarsfield Barracks to outline what their future plans are for the facility. When I was in Government I secured further investment in the facility which should have seen the future of the barracks cemented. However Minister Shatter and the Government are now putting that in doubt,” he said.