500 soldiers on march -- but no jobs will be lost at barracks
More than 500 soldiers will be affected by the Government decision yesterday to shut down three full-time Army barracks and a Reserve post.
But no jobs will be lost when the barracks eventually close by the end of March.
The move, which led to the resignation of "Super" Junior Minister Willie Penrose from the Government, sparked off a wave of criticism from opposition politicians, the soldiers' representative association, Pdforra and local community leaders.
The closures mean that a total of 515 personnel will be transferred to other barracks. This is where they are likely to be moved:
•Mullingar -- 170 members of the 4th Field Artillery Regiment will be transferred to the brigade headquarters at Athlone.
•Cavan -- 130 personnel from the 6th battalion will also be sent to Athlone.
•Clonmel -- 200 soldiers will be divided up with the main groups going to Limerick and the Curragh, while a small number will transfer to Kilkenny.
•Castlebar -- a cadre of only 15 full-time personnel is involved and their fate has yet to be determined, while the reservists could continue to train at other locations in the Co Mayo town.
According to the authorities, the decision will also make it easier to carry out collective training and provide greater flexibility for carrying out operations.
Last night security sources were adamant that there were no plans to reduce the size of the already under-strength military.