Cllr. Burke seeks Government Assurances on Columb Barracks
Fine Gael general election candidate, Cllr Peter Burke, has said that he is personally committed to the pursuit of more diverse uses for Columb Barracks, Mullingar.
It is nearly four years since the barracks was stood down as a military installation, and since then it has become home to IUNVA Post 20 (Mullingar), Westmeath GAA, Department of Education adult classes, and other institutions and organisations.
However, Cllr Burke believes that there are other potential uses for the facility which have been overlooked, and he is pushing for a permanent Westmeath Civil Defence HQ and training centre to be installed there.
“I think this would be an ideal opportunity to equip Westmeath Civil Defence personnel with the headquarters and training facilities they deserve,” said Cllr Burke.
“I also feel that other potential functions have been overlooked. There is no reason why the museum cannot be restored to Columb Barracks, which could also be run by members of the Reserve Defence Force (RDF), if they were also brought back to the barracks.
“In addition, it has been suggested to me that a military police company drawn from the RDF contingent could provide security at the gates when required, instead of the taxpayer paying through the nose for expensive security arrangements.”
Cllr Burke said that he has contacted his party colleague, the Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, about the matter, and hopes that he receives a proactive response as soon as possible.
“As a Fine Gael election candidate, I hope to enter Dáil Éireann as part of the next Government,” said Cllr Burke. “But on the issue of Columb Barracks, Mullingar comes before party.
“I hope that the Minister will look at the diverse options which have been suggested for Columb Barracks, and that the Government will act decisively to breathe new life into this historic centre of the town.”