The retention of the Civil Defence headquarters in Roscrea has been welcomed by Fine Gael Deputy Tom Hayes. Speaking on a new Bill which provides for the dissolution of the Civil Defence Board and the transfer of its functions and other responsibilities back to the Department of Defence, he said the savings being made indicated the Government’s determination to cut back on waste.
“I acknowledge the work done by the Department of Defence regarding the closure of the barracks in Clonmel,” he said. “Some months or a year ago, we received the bad news that Kickham Barracks was to be closed down. Since then, Department and local authority officials in south Tipperary have made a genuine effort to put a plan together. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Alan Shatter, announced in recent weeks that a new Garda station would be built on the site.”
There had been widespread negativity over the past 12 months among certain individuals, and false accusations were made that members of the Government parties were standing idly by and doing nothing.
“I was pleased some weeks ago when the Minister for Justice and Equality gave his full backing to a proposal, involving the local authority, the VEC and LIT, to put the site to valuable use,” he said. “I hope that over the coming years this proposal will be implemented. The plan is now almost in place. While one may criticise members of the public service, one must acknowledge this is an example of public servants working together to put a strategic plan in place for the Army barracks site. It must be acknowledged that it is worthwhile to make the site useful for the taxpayer and convert it into a valuable asset for the town and surrounding area. I thank the Minister sincerely and am only too glad to put these points on the record.”
“We are all mindful of the work of the Civil Defence,” he said. “I refer to volunteerism and supporting local efforts in the wake of floods, freezing temperatures and snowfalls. For many years the River Suir overflowed in Clonmel in County Tipperary, causing considerable hardship to people in the town. The Civil Defence sprang into action immediately and helped to alleviate the problem. Now, owing to considerable investment and work on flood relief in the town, I hope its services will not be needed any more. Other towns will obviously be subject to flooding; one cannot predict when it will happen. Where other floods occur, the work of the local Civil Defence will come into play. The volunteers play a considerable role in improving the quality of life of everybody.”