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18th July 2003, 10:50


Mother of three, Pte Sandra Maher of B Company, 8th Battalion from Drogheda pictured at the Reserve Defence Force's annual training camp at the Glen of Imaal yesterday. Picture: Garry O'Neill

FALLING numbers are forcing a rethink on the shape of the Reserve Defence Force to make it more attractive to potential new members.

Fewer people have the time or inclination to take part in voluntary activity in an affluent society, Defence Minister Michael Smith admitted yesterday.

Attending the Reserve's annual training camp at the Glen of Imaal, Co Wicklow, the minister emphasised there was a need for a new organisation to be developed to reflect those realities and to ensure the force remains viable for the future.

Mr Smith said he had not yet received final proposals on the amalgamation of FCA units in line with the recommendations from a review body. But he intended to respect the deep roots which had been put down in so many towns, villages and communities throughout the country.

The White Paper on defence had recognised that a notable and important feature of the existing FCA organisation was its countrywide, geographical spread and he aimed to ensure this aspect would be retained.

The minister said he was seriously considering a recommendation from the study group that reservists be sent overseas on peace support missions as is common practice in other countries.

Guaranteeing the job security of civilians who volunteered for overseas service was also being examined.

This could include the introduction of legislation safeguarding their employment prospects while they served with the United Nations overseas.

Also under consideration is the integration of the Reserve into the Permanent Defence Force.

The minister said the investment programme for the Reserve this year included refurbishment works at Coolmoney Camp in the Glen of Imaal as well as Kilbride and Kilworth Camps, Bere Island and a number of other barracks and posts.

Tom Brady
Security Editor

Big Al
18th July 2003, 11:18

The minister said the investment programme for the Reserve this year included refurbishment works at Coolmoney Camp in the Glen of Imaal as well as Kilbride and Kilworth Camps, Bere Island and a number of other barracks and posts.

Thats stretching it a bit, its not like the PDF dont use these camps

18th July 2003, 14:58
the PDF rearly use Bere Island, what about doing up Tralee and Lahich (excuse spelling) barracks

Goldie fish
18th July 2003, 19:18
tralee is beyond help..Lahinch needs a bulldozer. The golf course needs a new car park.

19th July 2003, 19:40
Lahinch, Bere Island and Tralee are all nice places to go for a good week of socializing....Kilworth is the only place in the south that is really suitable as a training facility. It should be turned into a Brigade training camp where all training is conducted including full time PDF and RDF recruit and promotion training. The training depot should be moved to Kilworth and all courses conducted by them. It would make all training more efficient and it would raise the quality of training if everybody was trained in exactly the same fashion by the same people. The same thing could be done at facilities in the West and the East.

20th July 2003, 16:45
I was there while smith was giving the speech. He was talking about centralising training etc. I think this is a great idea. However Im opposed to closing some of the border installations. There is ample scope for closing some of the places down south.

Are there many military barracks/posts in the west and south?? can someone give me a number. I was told that the military authorities are going to close 4 more installations soon but which i dont know.

20th July 2003, 22:25
I will tell you Andy the places that wont close:
Athlone,2 in Dublin,Dundalk,Finner,Limerick & Cork.
Everywhere else is under treat.

20th July 2003, 23:31
theres more then 1 in cork that defently wont close as you cant do on the ground training in collins's

21st July 2003, 00:38
If it were up to me there would be Sarsfield in Limerick, Collins in Cork and Kilworth Camp (much expanded and improved). Everywhere else in the south would be sold off. In the west I would keep Finner Camp, Athlone, Galway and 1 large range/training facility. The Curragh, Glen of Imaal along with Cathal Brugha and McKee would also stay. There would be a need for some facilities in the border areas if we had a border but since the EU solved that problem, we don't really need them anymore. Gormanston is a total waste of money and is not needed.

Truck Driver
21st July 2003, 14:07

I heard a rumour that Longford and Mullingar are due to go next....

21st July 2003, 14:23
Close down Cathal Brugha and McKee. Sell the land at commercial rates and build a new barracks outside the city limits.

21st July 2003, 14:31
All well and good, but then what will you do for troops to quell insurgency in the city centre?


21st July 2003, 15:06
The same as they do now. They get on transport and move to the location. Think about what you are saying and think of the logistics required for both types of location. While you are at it look at the location of the barracks in conjunction to the size of the city when they were originally built. ie they all circled the city.

21st July 2003, 15:10
That's what I meant, the barracks were on the outskirts of the city when they were built anyway, but the DF inherited barracks from what was a force of occupation, and a factor in their location was having trrops in place to deal with rebellion. I think it's safe to say this should no longer be a consideration.

paul g
21st July 2003, 17:16
In Dublin the barracks are all near to the canal, Catha Bruagh, Collins, for ease of transport in the 18th cewntury when they were developed, but now the M-50 is possiby a more modern analogy.

However, I'm pretty sure the barracks contain listed buildings, and thus would be impossible to sell off at commercial rates.

Goldie fish
21st July 2003, 22:58
Griffith Barracks done ok,Collins Barracks didnt do too bad either. If properly handled these properties could easily be adapted for other uses. I dont see it happening though. Its a lot about heritage.
I dont see why DFHQ should take up 2 buildings in dublin and another one in the country though.
Parkgate has no historical significance,neither does the colaiste.

21st July 2003, 23:08
One DoD premises in Dublin has considerable historical signficance. Winston Churchill lived as a child in Ratra House - the Civil Defence School.
Its future status is unknown, CD are moving to Roscrea sometime this year seemingly.

Goldie fish
21st July 2003, 23:14
Winston..he loved ireland so much...

23rd July 2003, 12:52
Re barracks, it may have been on this thread or on his own website that California Tanker mentioned that many members of his Nationa Guard unit had to travel hundres of miles to their training depot.

No part of the Republic is more than six hours away. One facility in each command would leave any person within a couple of hours of a training depot. Use public land for training- a soldier in a barracks is fairly useless from a combat point of view.

Economies of scale having thus been achieved, more money can be spent on training and equipment. Such a move would make it much easier to have large scale exercises etc. Equipment and personnell would already be in place, no logistical nightmare of getting a city based battalion (or division or brigade, if that dream isn't too far fetched) down to the Curragh (or wherever) for range practices.

It would also make integration easier- if the PDF train one weekend a month with the reserve, the PDF have a higher effective force, and the RDF gain valuable training with experienced soldiers.

Sales of existing barracks could also be used to fund new capital projects- fibua & other training grounds. I would be against the use of the proceeds of sale for equipment- it would result only on investment in equiment every few years, and not on an ongoing basis as should be the case.

Yellowjacket- if troops are needed to quell insurgency in the City Centre, even if they are coming from Finner, that won't delay them for more than twelve hours, at the outside. Thats assuming they bring everything with them. Even towing field guns at 20mph means only a ten hour journey, and it shouldn't take two hours to hook a field gun to a Nissan Patrol, and fill a trailer full of ammunition.

23rd July 2003, 13:31
God almighty, the insurgency thing was a joke.... :rolleyes:

As for two hours to load the Nissan, does that include time taken to find the right keys?

Big Al
23rd July 2003, 15:43
there are only so many barracks and so much df land that can be sold, what happens when the current crops of closures go through, will we see housing estates in the curragh in 20 years time to pay for 40 more replacement apcs?

24th July 2003, 15:51
The unfortunate thing when discussing barracks locations & equipment is that all the suggestions rely on two assumptions, which are innaccurate:

1: The government, oireachteas and the public care about having an effective, efficient Defence Forces.

They do not. As far as I can tell, people want a DF capable of looking like soldiers, and of appearing in a newspaper article about the latest EU/ UN/ NATO peacekeeping force. Whether this will change, and in what way this will change, when Irish soldiers start dying in larger numbers in far away places remains to be seen. I like to believe that people would scream for investment, training & equipping, to ensure all losses are kept to a minimum.

2: The government & oireachteas have no vested interest in the location or equipping of Defence forces.

They do. There are how many barracks in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Cavan, Louth, Donegal, Galway etc etc employing how many people locally? As per any other major change in location of public spending, people will scream "job losses" at the first hint of a relocation. Politicians will react, and will be too terrified to even evaluate such a suggestion. Same applies to funding. As a TD, would anyone support taking a couple of hundred million from health or education and giving it to defence? The fact that an awful lot of government money is simply squandered is irrelevant.

Ideally, the DF would take over, I dunno, Connaught, leaving them with plains, beaches, mountains etc, along with a few towns for FIBUA.

Okay, thats a little of an exaggeration.

But I can dream.:p :p :o

24th July 2003, 17:08
Hell, they wouldn't need all of Connaught, just say, Mayo ...

Seriously though, there has been talk in the past, in the press and in speeches from various people, that the DF need a new training area.

Mainly because the glen is too small for battalion level training, much more of which is to be needed if the RRF batt is to be properly trained. Such an area would have to be relatively large (as in several square miles), should include at least one urban area, have a number of different landscape types, have a good internal communications network and be located relatively near port and airport facilties (although the last one is less important). Given land prices, it would have to be in the West of the country somewhere. Any ideas?

24th July 2003, 17:39
<font face="tahoma" color="#ff9900">I recommend Somewhere between Galway and Mayo, roughly 2,500 acres. Close to Knock Airport (Our New Air Corps Base) With a 2 Medium - large urban areas within (for Fibua - Dibua), Local Populations can be relocated with CPO's (this happened before with Blessington and other resevoirs) and the Local Lands can be all terrain. (not just Shrub and Forest like the Glen.) Farm land may be maintained within. and Purpose built Resevoirs (also could provide Economic / Environmentally friendly Electricity) could be used for ARW/Naval Assault training a BTC such as Kilbride. or Kilworth could be set up (Finner could be used and expanded as a SAR base/CASA base.) more central in the wbde than Finner.


Big Al
24th July 2003, 18:32
we cant get cpo's to build roads, you wont get them for df purposes. leitrim is the idea area as the whole place is deserted and has lots to different types of terrain

and limerick for fibua, leave the locals in to act as the defending force

Goldie fish
24th July 2003, 18:40
Knowing limerick,locals will be the defending and attacking force

24th July 2003, 21:34
I don't think a few square miles would do it. Granted, I'm not exactly up to speed on modern military methods, but its my understanding that a battallion on its own would take up several square miles.

If you're talking about mechanised infantry, you can't practise mobility in hostile territory in anything less that 30 miles. Even that, assuming you average 15mph, would give you a two hour exercise.

I think a strip, long enough for vehicular tactics & training and wide enough for this level of exercise would be ideal. Preferably a bit of mountain as well.

I don't think it would be necessary to actually acquire the land. After all, it's not like there would be tens of thousands of soldiers rampaging through on a regular basis. Maybe give the landowners annual compensation for the lands used (and compensation for damage caused)- if it was say €20,000 per square kilometre per annum, then you could have the use of a strip 100km * 20km for €40 million; approx 5% of the current DF budget. An insignificant price to pay for the training facilities, much of which expenditure could probably be offset by the sale of DF lands in urban centres and the investment to produce income.

For the landowners, and income of €80 per acre per annum would, granted, not be that much. If you were to make an offer like that in conjunction with EU farm reforms, you could stop a lot of whining instead of starting it.

As far as fibua is concerned, it would probably be cheaper to build a village & a section of town & a city block or two on greenfield sites. It's not like landscaping, sewage, electricity, water would be an issue. I'm guessing you could put up a fake town at relatively low cost.

If you centralise all the establishments, you would end up with a cheaper DF as well- sure to please many. Less cooks, less barmen, less admin, less transport to & from, less time wasting in transport (I'm sure there are personnell who have spent eight hours travelling to spend two hours shooting), more time & money to spend on teaching the fine men and women of the DF how to fight.

Not that I would recommend putting it in those terms to, say, the Green Party. Anywhoo...

Big Al
25th July 2003, 10:19
why does every one want to sell df lands and property? you dont sell your house when you need a new car, i cant see why everything the df does should be self financed.

paul g
25th July 2003, 13:58
Big al

then again, if you own two houses in the same street, only need one and spend a foutune on bills and upkeep it makes sense to sell one.

Big Al
25th July 2003, 15:26
Paul, I would rent it out, generate an income from it and retain the asset.

There is only so much df assets that can be disposed of, i am against everything the df does comming from its own resources, can you image closing 5 cop shops in dublin, limerick or galway to pay for one big one? there would be a public outcry or closing cork airport so that an extra terminal can be built in dublin.

i go back to my earlier point, when the current crops of closures are complete what happens when the df requires further reinvestment, the family jewels are gone.

25th July 2003, 15:59

Wealthy people can keep both houses. What I'm talking about is selling the 3 bedroom terraced house in Dublin 4 and buying an eight bedroom house will a big garden, pool and a tennis court in Longford. Sure we'll miss the nieghbours, but with the left over cash we can buy a new car.

Closing cop shops is not a proper analogy to closing barracks. Street fights, burglaries & muggings take place every day without warning. Invasions, insurrection & major intergovernmental conferences do not.

Think of it in terms of the cops using cctv cameras. If a situation does require military intervention (major raid etc) then intelligence of whatever sort will allow the appropriate concentration of forces. In the meantime, the cops can stay in their nice warm stations/ cars and the military can keep training until they are needed.

There is, unfortunately, not the impetus at present to allow for DF improvements which are other than cost neutral. Planning should concentrate, not on inheriting the family fortune, but rather on getting the most out of what we already have. We might win the lotto, but in the meantime, we must spend our money more wisely.

Big Al
25th July 2003, 17:14
i dont believe that you should sell fixed assets that are appreciating in value to pay for short - medium term assets that are depreciating in value. When the new APCs are ready to be used as targets i just hope we have somewhere to train.

This is just typical of the bullshit government spending policy, civil servants are unable to buget properly and their pay isnt linked to performance, if they run over budget or not they are still paid the same. Just look at the billons put into the health service and beaumont hospital still cant cope, the new hospital in blanch still cant open. Civil servants are to blame and are protected by strong unions that have the country by the balls. On top of that they want to pay a bench marking agreement the bill for which will be footed by every one in increased "stealth" taxes.

If civil servants feel that they are not paid enough compared to the private sector the simplist solution for them is to get a job working in the private sector. Cop shops are not the sames as barracks i was just using it was an example, however the gardai have a strong rep association who have a slick PR focus, the DF rep associations are nowhere near as media savy, just compare the GRA or AGSI websites compared to the PDFORRA website, the shambolic RDFRA site and the non existant RACCO site

26th July 2003, 18:46
Big Al,

Not suggesting selling the family home to buy something pretty to wear, which will be thrown out after a few years. Talking about selling fragmented overly expensive fixed property and using the proceeds to buy bigger & better fixed property somewhere else.

The economies of having one, huge training grounds will free up monies from the current budget which are currently being spent just lighting & heating & guarding barrack to buy and, most importantly, maintain, replenish & replace current equipemtn (whether thats bullits or APCs) as and when required.

I reckon that it takes around 30- 40 soldiers per barracks just to keep it open- and thats assuming that all they are doing it is guarding it & eating there, with no MAP, signals, MPs etc) Including the pension contributions etc, that would be (fierce look of concentration on my face, eyes screwed shut in a painful expression of intellectual effort) somewhere in the region of a million euro. Why not save that million, and another twenty million, and spend it on training & equipment, if you can.

Add the savings of having more efficient administration, civilianising jobs insofar as that is possible (why pay a pdf member higher wages to clear tables when you could find plenty of people to do it for minimum wage) You end up with cash to buy another 20 APCs each year, as well as give the PDF & Reserve real training and equipment.

Ye gods, I would say that it would probably save millions just having all the ammunition delivered to the one place, and stay there, rather than delivered to every barracks or delivered centrally then distributed. Ration packs, webbing etc all fall into the same boat.

26th July 2003, 21:18
Invasions, insurrection & major intergovernmental conferences do not.
Be advised I'm stealing this quote for future personal use

27th July 2003, 03:20
You are talking about selling assets. Bere Island is by no means an asset as it is used for sailing courses and other such recreational activities that have no real military value. Lahinch is used as a key military base for officers to play golf in the course across the street. The camp itself is too small for any real training. We used to go there for summer camps that consisted of drinking, swimming, hiking and boating. Tralee is a dump that is beyond human habitation and is also simply used for summer camps and free accomodation during festivals etc. There is no strategic significance to Clonmel except that it splits a battalion in half and leaves both Limerick and Clonmel under-manned. Any urban base is useless except for rapid deployment when needed for any kind of aid to the civil power. The military should be concentrated in rural areas in large numbers where effective training can be conducted. Deployment is easy when the troops are concentrated in fewer bases and the equipment is also right there. The problem in Ireland is that most units have half their strength detailed to other places and any deployment is a nightmare. For any one battalion to deploy a company, they need to borrow people from all over just to make up the required numbers.

27th July 2003, 10:51
Jag ,I have to agree that the using of soldiers in cook houses to clear plates,delph etc is a usless waste of troops but if you centralise Ammo and other equipment like the clothing then the Army is totally F***ed cos we cant get clothing when we want it,as everytime you go to say Athlone in our case the System is gone down.If the PC goes down when you need Ammo etc in an emergency then we might as well give the whole game up now!!


Big Al
27th July 2003, 12:36
there are no plans to buy bigger property for the df just condense what they already own. bere island, tralee and lahinch are kept open in favour of gormanstown why? cause the gormo is sitting on the right beside the new M1 and is prime land for housing (incidently buying a house between drogheda and dundalk now looks like a smart move), you will generate f-all revenue from selling the other three. there are other issues about centralisation that you would have to look at, look at the problems some of the very rural units have at present (sigs in sligo for example).

selling df assets to buy long term assets is fine but selling them for short-medium term assets isnt so smart

tralee should be used as a training ground for ATG strikes when the PC9's arrive

27th July 2003, 16:40

Obviously, the system needs to be organised properly to take advantage of the strengths of centralisation. But I don't really understand how something that doesn't work now would work less in a centralised DF.

Any improvements to any organisation need to be not just physical, but systemic.

27th July 2003, 23:55
I just don't see what problems would be caused by having a major base in Kilworth which is located on both sides of the main Dublin - Cork road on a huge parcel of otherwise useless property.

The Curragh is also located perfectly on the main Dublin - Cork/Limerick road. I don't know what large pieces of land the Dept. owns in the west but let's face it they could take over Roscommon and nobody would really care!!

27th July 2003, 23:56
I agree that centralisation does have some merits, but as regards the selling of DF property to "self-finance" the DF, well i have to agree with Big Al here, it does seem pointless to sell long term assets for more "quick fix"solutions, again i think it comes down to a lack of political will or inclination, the DF has not for a very long time been a hive of political interest or activity, probably not since the early seventies anyway, if we are going to be realistic about it the only way the DF will be modernised to a sufficent degree, is when John Q Public realises that our "neutrality" is a sham and we need to step forward and play a major part in international affairs by joining NATO, then we can quite happily accept all the greenbacks that the yanks want to throw at us. But I digress! strictly speaking the DF wouldnt do itself any harm if it moved out of the larger city's, by all means sell all the propertys, but invest it in real estate that we can all use and train on! :flagwave:

5th August 2003, 16:27
Just wanted to ask you guys-are you talking about centralizing all army assets in one place?In my opinion that would be tactical suicide (not accusing anybody-I am willing to be corrected!)-concentrating main forces in one place may free up finances but in an attack scenario we could lose our main forces in a shock tactic assault.I know that's never likely to happen,but as a military force they should think in military terms,not financial and political.(That's what we get for living in a democracy-anybody wanna take over the country?)

5th August 2003, 20:33
No Shadow not in ONE location, but in several locations around the country.

Does anyone know how many PDF barracks we have a present? and how many RDF barracks and posts?


8th August 2003, 00:21
There are I believe, 26 remaining barracks. I believe a maximum of four are necessary. One would allow greater flexibility in training (assuming you trade the greater numbers for larger facilities)- not having to stop an exercise and wait every time a hiker comes along.

In todays world, there is no such thing as shock military tactics which can devaste all our equipment in one go. The fastest threatened or actual conflicts recently which I can think of were the invasion/liberation/whatever of Afghanistan, and the taking over of East Timor by the UN. The latter operation moved faster (even though force was not ultimately necessary) but still occupied a few weeks of chest beating and preparation by Australia, which is the local equivalent of the USA.

If training and equipment is up to scratch, it will not take a few weeks to prepare for invasion or whatever else befalls us. The most time consuming task would be the distribution of supply dumps. This presumes that the location for all such dumps are pre-selected on a localised and security conscious basis. But then all action depends, eventually, on proper planning and preparation (prevents piss poor performance).

Finally, having just reviewed this thread, I would like to apologise unreservedly for the excessive length of my contributions. I will try to learn some brevity.

Herr Klutz
8th August 2003, 14:32
I agree with al that selling off all the DF assets is a bad idea,but however i also find myself agreeing that having facilities more centralised is also a good idea...so I'm torn...

McKee bks is in the middle of the city (well, give or take...) and the only ground you can train on is the parade ground (for just that) or if you want to go running around the field the equitation school uses (I may be only 15 but I nearly grew up on bks...) which wouldn't exactly be great if McKee coy wants to go practicing on a firing range...which means they have to go off to ranges elsewhere and not very efficent...same was true of collins's and the old espane (sp) building (now run by the civil defence isen't it?)

I'd propose keeping at least 1 bks in Dublin city proper and moving another one further out (though at the rate the city is expanding you'd wanna go pretty far, perhaps up into somewhere like meath) where you could also plonk down next to a couple of nice big fields to run around, do range firing etc all on the one bks.

As for the west of ireland, well the government already spends million of euro's trying to keep it open to the rest of the country, so why not give a nice chunk of it to the DF and give us the money instead so as we can build up facilities, and it would also be good for the local economy as local people could be employed doing the non-military jobs like catering and so on and lots of soldiers in the area are bound to spend lots of money when they get a chance off exercise.

And I also agree with Spanky that NATO (and the EU army) would be a great idea once all the people wake up to the fact that we're no longer an isolated nation who no-one will touch...if europe was invaded from the east/mid east etc what makes people think they'd stop on the west coast of britain? I'd rather be doing my fighting in some poor buggers back garden in poland than having to make a valiant but futile last stand in the GPO...as well as us finally being able to "do our bit" without having to mince words in the Dáil about it, and we'd get a lot of backing from countries like the US who are more than happy to fund friendly militaries these days...perhaps that is the best way for the DF to survive with the family wares and also expand at the same time-let someone else pay for the army in return for us supporting them every so ofton in conflicts and make sure the hippies don't threaten deployments every time they pass through shannon.

I know some people (myself included) would be reluctent to see someone else pay our way, but its better than slowly dieing while public attention is somewhere else and then leaving the country defencless and without the capacity to raise an effective force when its needed...and of course who'll get the blaim for it then only the soldiers who didn't say enough when they should have...ahem.

8th August 2003, 14:54
<FONT FACE="TAHOMA" COLOR="#FF9900">There are 6 main training Areas. The Curragh, Coolmoney (The Glen), Kilbride, Kilworth, Finner and for the Moment Gormanston Camps. None in the West! Finner is way out on its own up there in Donegal. Gormanston has Bad Terrain or none rather (but's Handy for Beach assaults). The Glen is MULTI purpose as is Kilworth and Kilbride.

Each Camp Encompasses a specific type of Terrain found in this Country.

The Curragh has the Rolling Grasslands.
Kilworth and The Glen are The same (mountainous Forests and Marshland).
Kilbride is basically surviving the worst Terrain in the World!! (The Brits had 8,000 troops stationed there training for the Boer War due to the Barren landscapes similarity to Southern african Mountain ranges.)
Finner is Similar to Gormo (apparently) Seaside Dunes and beaches.

So what are we missing!! Plain Flat Boglands there's plenty out in Galway and Rosscommon.

And Nobody's Crazy enough to Fight down in the MacGillacuddy reeks!! anyone who fought there, the Brits and the Free State Forces, were Hockied out of it.


Herr Klutz
8th August 2003, 15:11
be prepaired for all eventualities...if we're trained to fight down there then we're better off than someone who isen't.

The thing is its all or nothing for the DF these days...atm we couldn't defend the state if we wanted, and while the troops we provide to the UN do a good job there arn't that many of them...therefore we'd NEED to join NATO if we're not going to be just a force of 10,000 men sitting around training for something we couldn't do properly anyways and discussing fantasies of big tanks and proper air support.

8th August 2003, 15:24
Originally posted by Herr Klutz
same was true of collins's and the old espane (sp) building (now run by the arw isen't it?)

If you mean The Esplanade (In front of Collin's Barracks), Dublin Civil Defence are the current occupiers. Kinda hard to mix them up with the ARW though :D

Herr Klutz
8th August 2003, 15:26
mish...excuse my spelling and lack of knowladge when it comes to the exact location of every unit in the country :p

8th August 2003, 17:11
Replace ARW with OPW