Cork to lose 64 soldiers
Cork will lose 64 army personnel after Defence Minister Alan Shatter outlined his controversial cost-saving plans this week.
Three brigades of the Irish army will be merged into two units over the coming months, with 64 troops to leave Cork, as the 4th Infantry Battalion will be stood down. They may have to work in Limerick, Kilkenny or Galway as a result of the re-organisation.
The move has implications for civilians in Cork as the 4th Infantry Battalion is the largest in Collins Barracks and provides the primary army response to floods, heavy snows and other disaster relief in Munster.
A 9,500 staff ceiling will be kept but the southern, eastern, and western brigades will be re-structured into southern and northern units and, according to Minister Shatter, there will be no further barracks closures.
Minister Shatter said: “The purpose of the re-organisation is to retain the capacity of the PDF to fulfil the roles assigned to the greatest extent possible within the strength ceiling of 9,500 and the significantly reduced resource envelope resulting from the fiscal difficulties of the State. No reduction in the strength of the Permanent Defence Force will result.”
There will now be a southern brigade with barracks in Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Kilkenny; and a northern brigade with barracks in Dublin, Athlone, Donegal, Meath, and Louth. 200 extra troops will now be deployed in Limerick, 178 in Galway and 145 in Kilkenny.
Soldiers’ representative group PDFORRA is disappointed at the announcement.
General secretary, Gerry Rooney, said that for soldiers forced to commute elsewhere, it would be akin to a paycut.
“If someone is forced to move to Limerick, Dublin or Kilkenny from Collins Barracks, they will incur huge costs. There will be a substantial commuting costs making it equivalent to a paycut.
“There are vacancies in the local area but whether there are enough jobs is another thing and whether they have the right skills. We would have expressions of interest for people to move.”
He added that PDFORRA hope that they look at other measures like re-training, instead of reassigning troops.