21st May 2010



Today (Friday 21st May 2010) Minister for Defence, Mr. Tony Killeen, T.D travelled to Cork on his first official visit to both Collins Barracks and the Naval Base in Haulbowline since his appointment as Minister for Defence.

On arrival at Collins Barracks, the Minister was greeted by the Acting Chief of Staff, Major General Dave Ashe, General Officer Commanding the Southern Brigade, Brigadier General Paul Pakenham and the Officer Commanding the Barracks, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Quirke. He then reviewed a Guard of Honour of members of the 4th Infantry Battalion. Minister Killeen was briefed by senior military personnel and shown around a display of military equipment.

Minister Killeen then travelled to the Naval Base in Haulbowline where he was met by the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Frank Lynch and inspected a Guard of Honour of members of the Naval Service. Following a briefing by senior naval service officers, the Minister was brought on a tour of the Naval Base which included a tour of the National Maritime College of Ireland, a 3rd Level Institution which caters for the non-military education and training needs of the Naval Service and the education and training of Irelands Merchant Navy.

Commenting on his visit to Cork Minister Killeen thanked all the Army and Naval personnel for the excellent work they did in support of the frontline services during the severe weather emergencies “Cork was hit particularly badly during the recent flooding and I know the whole community welcomed the reassurance of having the Defence Forces on the scene providing their professional support to alleviate the worst effects of the flooding”, the Minister said.

In Cork City, over 200 Defence Forces personnel were deployed to assist the local authority with engineer support (Lee Fields pumping station), and to support distribution of drinking and sanitation water on the North side of the City and to the Mercy Hospital. The LE Orla provided back up assistance, including communications and catering. Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) were provided to support river searches. The Defence Forces also assisted in the provision of a whole range of heavy vehicles, sand bags and portable lighting.

Minister Killeen continued “This was a major response by the Defence Forces and I know they were ready and on standby to provide even more support should this have been required. On behalf of the Government and the community at large, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Defence Forces personnel for their individual and collective efforts. I know the protection of the community lies at the heart of the ethos of the Defence Forces and it certainly showed here in Cork during the severe weather crises.”


ENDS

For further information please contact: Derval Monahan Press Adviser to Minister Killeen, Department of Defence, on Tel +353 1 8042170 and Mobile + 353876781608. Email derval.monahan@defence.irlgov.ie