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Which Barracks Should Close Next? (Part 2)

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  • Originally posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post

    Every MLI family that I encountered in the DF also had private accomodation outside and there were very few that truly "lived in". They usually had a place or places outside for their kids to go to school and college. We had one genuine fulltime tenant in Baldonnel but we knew he had a place outside and there was a small estate of bungalows that were scarcely used.
    And you can understand if that is at the other end of the country but …

    Comment


    • Like many things this is an issue the State has ignored for 100 years, "we had somewhere to put troops why build something new". The fact that the nature of combat changed radically in those 100 years never seemed to raise its head. So after a while of some research and realizing the size of the challenge I have a better idea that might fit.

      The first has to do with the issue of ownership, what happens if someone is in service provided accommodation and then leaves the service etc. IMHO the best form would be a form of housing association, "Irish Defence Forces Housing" or some better sounding name in Irish. The State would provide the initial capital and as more people take up the offer the monies generated are poured 100% back into maintaining and expanding the scheme. Part of the State funding would come from the disposal of current DF properties with all the monies raised ring-fenced for the new scheme.

      When some completes their basic training they could join a scheme as an associate member (tenant), they pay "rent" and have a vote but no ownership rights. Then after 5 years they get the right to become a full member with ownership rights. As a bonus part of the "rent" could be taken as the joining fee, say 20% of the value paid. If someone leave then they leave, no pay-out etc. Then thing would run similar to most other housing associations. The members have shares in the association which as a separate legal entity owns the properties. If someone leave the scheme the association buys back the shares at a pre-agreed price. People reaching passing retirement age would only pay the administration/maintenance charges and would have the right to remain in the property. But as they only own a share of the scheme and not the property when they pass-on their share is sold back to the association. Spouses would retain the right to remain in the scheme.

      So why should the DFs get such a scheme, are nurses, teachers etc not be entitled to the same offer? In principle, yes but the DFs could be a Pilot project and there is one key difference. The DF scheme would be in rural areas not the big cities where prices make it difficult for health workers, young teachers etc. But even here there could be a crossover, the inner city barracks that are disposed of by the DF could be sold to the HSE etc, to be redeveloped into affordable accommodation for these valuable public servants.

      Thinking up a scheme was the easy part, locations and size is more difficult. Finding sites is difficult so a minimum number could be the driver, say 4-5, that would then mean a site to accommodate 2 battalions. This has the added benefit that they could do battalion sized blue on red training locally. Of the areas that come into focus one in particular could be the model of others sites; Fermoy. It was one a garrison town with two barracks and a training area just up the road at Kilworth. Firstly it is an established town, so for the first new residents services such as shops, schools etc are available. Clearly as the base grew to full size they would need to be expanded. Secondly it is next to the M8 motorway so transport is good. And depending on what land is purchased the Blackwater would provide and opportunity to practice river crossing! Finding another 3-4 similar sites would be a challenge.

      As for the base set-up I would foresee 3 zones, 1) the purely military zone, where equipment etc would be stored, ranges etc. 2) duel use, maybe sports facilities and the 3) civial area which would be the housing area. The dual use area is to link the new bases better into the local community which at the outset might not be too happy. It would show the DF as part of the community and that can only be good for its image and standing. Every soldier should know how to swim (we will leave sailors out of this) so a swimming pool could be part of each set-up. And I don't know many towns that would not want such a facility. The reason for having the housing in a civil zone is that not everyone will be military. Kids need to come and go as normal, mix with friends from school and clubs so best to keep the accommodation as a civilian area.

      I know this was long, but just a few thoughts on the subject. But it would need a massive chance in thinking about defence for it to even have the slightest chance of being looked at let alone being adopted.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by EUFighter View Post
        Like many things this is an issue the State has ignored for 100 years, "we had somewhere to put troops why build something new". The fact that the nature of combat changed radically in those 100 years never seemed to raise its head. So after a while of some research and realizing the size of the challenge I have a better idea that might fit.

        The first has to do with the issue of ownership, what happens if someone is in service provided accommodation and then leaves the service etc. IMHO the best form would be a form of housing association, "Irish Defence Forces Housing" or some better sounding name in Irish. The State would provide the initial capital and as more people take up the offer the monies generated are poured 100% back into maintaining and expanding the scheme. Part of the State funding would come from the disposal of current DF properties with all the monies raised ring-fenced for the new scheme.

        When some completes their basic training they could join a scheme as an associate member (tenant), they pay "rent" and have a vote but no ownership rights. Then after 5 years they get the right to become a full member with ownership rights. As a bonus part of the "rent" could be taken as the joining fee, say 20% of the value paid. If someone leave then they leave, no pay-out etc. Then thing would run similar to most other housing associations. The members have shares in the association which as a separate legal entity owns the properties. If someone leave the scheme the association buys back the shares at a pre-agreed price. People reaching passing retirement age would only pay the administration/maintenance charges and would have the right to remain in the property. But as they only own a share of the scheme and not the property when they pass-on their share is sold back to the association. Spouses would retain the right to remain in the scheme.

        So why should the DFs get such a scheme, are nurses, teachers etc not be entitled to the same offer? In principle, yes but the DFs could be a Pilot project and there is one key difference. The DF scheme would be in rural areas not the big cities where prices make it difficult for health workers, young teachers etc. But even here there could be a crossover, the inner city barracks that are disposed of by the DF could be sold to the HSE etc, to be redeveloped into affordable accommodation for these valuable public servants.

        Thinking up a scheme was the easy part, locations and size is more difficult. Finding sites is difficult so a minimum number could be the driver, say 4-5, that would then mean a site to accommodate 2 battalions. This has the added benefit that they could do battalion sized blue on red training locally. Of the areas that come into focus one in particular could be the model of others sites; Fermoy. It was one a garrison town with two barracks and a training area just up the road at Kilworth. Firstly it is an established town, so for the first new residents services such as shops, schools etc are available. Clearly as the base grew to full size they would need to be expanded. Secondly it is next to the M8 motorway so transport is good. And depending on what land is purchased the Blackwater would provide and opportunity to practice river crossing! Finding another 3-4 similar sites would be a challenge.

        As for the base set-up I would foresee 3 zones, 1) the purely military zone, where equipment etc would be stored, ranges etc. 2) duel use, maybe sports facilities and the 3) civial area which would be the housing area. The dual use area is to link the new bases better into the local community which at the outset might not be too happy. It would show the DF as part of the community and that can only be good for its image and standing. Every soldier should know how to swim (we will leave sailors out of this) so a swimming pool could be part of each set-up. And I don't know many towns that would not want such a facility. The reason for having the housing in a civil zone is that not everyone will be military. Kids need to come and go as normal, mix with friends from school and clubs so best to keep the accommodation as a civilian area.

        I know this was long, but just a few thoughts on the subject. But it would need a massive chance in thinking about defence for it to even have the slightest chance of being looked at let alone being adopted.
        If you want to be able to March out a gate (which is really best) and into a training area, then really most built up areas in rural areas are out.

        Which means the DF end up building a town in the middle of no where, one would hope that amenities (shopping centres etc naturally progress but then they have to be where it suits the DF). Schools, places for partners to work etc are needed. Soon the DF area would be secondary.

        of course the State can’t get that right for normal towns and cities as is

        What about the person who only serves 5 years, the State effectively institutionalises them and then they have no where to live.

        You would effectively need to keep building home every year as new people join, as those that retire stay

        within a generation of two, you’ve created a military location that doesn’t suit the needs of the military



        what could be done would not move people around as much and part of that is having less locations ….

        Comment


        • Originally posted by DeV View Post

          If you want to be able to March out a gate (which is really best) and into a training area, then really most built up areas in rural areas are out.

          Which means the DF end up building a town in the middle of no where, one would hope that amenities (shopping centres etc naturally progress but then they have to be where it suits the DF). Schools, places for partners to work etc are needed. Soon the DF area would be secondary.

          of course the State can’t get that right for normal towns and cities as is

          What about the person who only serves 5 years, the State effectively institutionalises them and then they have no where to live.

          You would effectively need to keep building home every year as new people join, as those that retire stay

          within a generation of two, you’ve created a military location that doesn’t suit the needs of the military



          what could be done would not move people around as much and part of that is having less locations ….
          Its the "not moving people around" that creates the Garrison mentality, which is part of the reason why we have one Naval Base and one Air Base, so we have no direct, quick access to our Western and North Eastern waters and what is essentially a direct unwillingness to move anywhere, either from Service personnel or DoD staff. We have and have had generations of soldiers, sailors and airmen that have spent their entire career in one location, apart from UN trips. Now, in fairness, getting shunted around every three years like the Uk and US armies is not ideal, but keeping a service person in one location for all of their working lives is hardly conducive to the readily mobile Army that the DF appears to want.
          Apart from that, if a person is institutionalised in only five years, then they have their own problems to deal with. Most of that five years is taken up with training and courses and an entrant certainly can't scratch their arse on their own for the first two years, at least. As for housing, any Barracks or Base should have modern, clean facilities available to immediately house at least 50% of the SLIs at any time. It's not difficult to do and any European Army worth it's salt does it as a matter of routine. As an example, when the British occupied Germany after WW 2 had ended, they immediately housed their forces in former Barracks of the Wehrmacht and SS, stripped of Nazi symbolism and it soon evolved that such housing, when properly kept, was better than BA's own housing and even better again than a lot of the postwar barracks in the UK. there is currently a severe shortage of housing for Britain's current much reduced Army and a growing scandal about the state of such existing housing.
          So, if the DoD and DF should decide to get into the housing game. they'd need to learn from their contemporaries and offer something decent and importantly, something well maintained.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by EUFighter View Post

            IMHO the DF should look at the whole topic of facilities from the other side, are they fit for purpose? All of the currently in-use facilities the Sate inherited from the British. The choice of locations by the British was more about control of a hostile local population. If we look at the modern deployments of the DF they are mechanised infantry, look at Lebanon, Chad et al. Should the DF not look at building proper modern bases outside of the major cities with proper training and living facilities? City locations such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway have high land prices and accommodation. Could this not be seen as an opportunity? Yes I know this would mean spending money on "defence".
            It would help if the DF didnt sell Barracks off for a song and then watch them sit idle and get vandalised, or get further sold on for millions, while soldiers have to live in containers or freezing cold Victorian buildings.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post

              Its the "not moving people around" that creates the Garrison mentality, which is part of the reason why we have one Naval Base and one Air Base, so we have no direct, quick access to our Western and North Eastern waters and what is essentially a direct unwillingness to move anywhere, either from Service personnel or DoD staff. We have and have had generations of soldiers, sailors and airmen that have spent their entire career in one location, apart from UN trips. Now, in fairness, getting shunted around every three years like the Uk and US armies is not ideal, but keeping a service person in one location for all of their working lives is hardly conducive to the readily mobile Army that the DF appears to want.
              Apart from that, if a person is institutionalised in only five years, then they have their own problems to deal with. Most of that five years is taken up with training and courses and an entrant certainly can't scratch their arse on their own for the first two years, at least. As for housing, any Barracks or Base should have modern, clean facilities available to immediately house at least 50% of the SLIs at any time. It's not difficult to do and any European Army worth it's salt does it as a matter of routine. As an example, when the British occupied Germany after WW 2 had ended, they immediately housed their forces in former Barracks of the Wehrmacht and SS, stripped of Nazi symbolism and it soon evolved that such housing, when properly kept, was better than BA's own housing and even better again than a lot of the postwar barracks in the UK. there is currently a severe shortage of housing for Britain's current much reduced Army and a growing scandal about the state of such existing housing.
              So, if the DoD and DF should decide to get into the housing game. they'd need to learn from their contemporaries and offer something decent and importantly, something well maintained.
              Watching the final episode of the BBC series on the latest batch of recruits in training, and once they finished basic, one lad gets sent to a unit currently based in Canada, one of the girls (who isn't Scottish) gets sent to a Scots unit, complete with Bonnet, tam & kilt. There's was a lad in A R Irish Glengarry too, though he wasn't involved in the events on the series.
              They seem to go where they are sent, there seems to be some preference to regiment, but otherwise the location is not of the recruits making.
              I have to take issue with your comparisons between the Naval Service & Air Corps. Yes the Navy have one base, but it is in the process of developing an east coast base, and Naval vessels refuel in Rathmullan pier in Donegal so often it may as well be a station. There is no available infrastructure on the west coast that allows 24 hour access at present. All the harbours capable of taking our ships are restricted by tide or lock gates. (Galway & Limerick).The Air corps had 3 stations at one time, until cutbacks and policy changes closed the Gormo operation, and the Shannon, and later the Waterford station were handed over to the Coast Guard helicopters.
              I heard from a former colleague in the reserve who visited our old location as a civilian, that what had been training rooms, offices, & random abandoned store rooms etc in the early 2000s is now living accommodation of a very high standard. Living in should be an option for all serving, at least in the medium term. In the event of a real national emergency, you want to be able to keep the majority of your strength (or that of other units) within the barrack walls, and not sleeping on kip mats in the gym at least for a deployment of a month or more..
              For now, everything hangs on implementation of the CoDF report.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post

                It’s the "not moving people around" that creates the Garrison mentality.
                which is why we need a smaller number of more multi unit barracks

                Now, in fairness, getting shunted around every three years like the Uk and US armies is not ideal, but keeping a service person in one location for all of their working lives is hardly conducive to the readily mobile Army that the DF appears to want.
                DF officers are and it doesn’t respect the needs of the individual or their family, which effect’s Retention.

                for DF other ranks, they are not routinely posted to units all over the place upon promotion

                Apart from that, if a person is institutionalised in only five years, then they have their own problems to deal with. Most of that five years is taken up with training and courses and an entrant certainly can't scratch their arse on their own for the first two years, at least.
                that is part of the exact reason for all that training to institutionalise them


                Comment


                • Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post

                  Watching the final episode of the BBC series on the latest batch of recruits in training, and once they finished basic, one lad gets sent to a unit currently based in Canada, one of the girls (who isn't Scottish) gets sent to a Scots unit, complete with Bonnet, tam & kilt. There's was a lad in A R Irish Glengarry too, though he wasn't involved in the events on the series.
                  They seem to go where they are sent, there seems to be some preference to regiment, but otherwise the location is not of the recruits making.
                  don’t they still pick their regiment ?

                  And their regiments are routinely moved around although to a large degree that was supposed to have been stopped as a retention measure (deployments aside).



                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by DeV View Post
                    don’t they still pick their regiment ?

                    And their regiments are routinely moved around although to a large degree that was supposed to have been stopped as a retention measure (deployments aside).


                    They do, but your regiment could be anywhere in the world for months even years at a time. For example, Royal Anglian currently have a Battalion based in Cyprus. 2nd Yorkshire are based in Chester, which oddly, is not part of Yorkshire. 1st Bn Royal Irish are based in....Shropshire...
                    For now, everything hangs on implementation of the CoDF report.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by DeV View Post
                      which is why we need a smaller number of more multi unit barracks

                      DF officers are and it doesn’t respect the needs of the individual or their family, which effect’s Retention.

                      for DF other ranks, they are not routinely posted to units all over the place upon promotion

                      that is part of the exact reason for all that training to institutionalise them

                      Training is designed to instil discipline, not teach how to not know how to rent a property or tax their car or throw out mouldy bread or keep their quarters like pigstys. Institutionalisation happens when Individuals give in entirely to having decisions made for them and lose socialising skills because they stay in Barracks for virtually all of their Service lives. I knew two individuals in Baldonnel who, upon retirement, went directly to ONE housing in Dublin because they were fully institutionalised and essentially unfit for normal life. It's a sad reflection on the individual and the DF that it happened and continues to happen.

                      Comment


                      • It's not uncommon. The homeless populations all around the world are full of ex servicemen and women, who were unable to cope with normal life when they became civvies.
                        Some countries have better support systems in place tor those at risk. Some do not.
                        For now, everything hangs on implementation of the CoDF report.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post

                          Watching the final episode of the BBC series on the latest batch of recruits in training, and once they finished basic, one lad gets sent to a unit currently based in Canada, one of the girls (who isn't Scottish) gets sent to a Scots unit, complete with Bonnet, tam & kilt. There's was a lad in A R Irish Glengarry too, though he wasn't involved in the events on the series.
                          They seem to go where they are sent, there seems to be some preference to regiment, but otherwise the location is not of the recruits making.
                          I have to take issue with your comparisons between the Naval Service & Air Corps. Yes the Navy have one base, but it is in the process of developing an east coast base, and Naval vessels refuel in Rathmullan pier in Donegal so often it may as well be a station. There is no available infrastructure on the west coast that allows 24 hour access at present. All the harbours capable of taking our ships are restricted by tide or lock gates. (Galway & Limerick).The Air corps had 3 stations at one time, until cutbacks and policy changes closed the Gormo operation, and the Shannon, and later the Waterford station were handed over to the Coast Guard helicopters.
                          I heard from a former colleague in the reserve who visited our old location as a civilian, that what had been training rooms, offices, & random abandoned store rooms etc in the early 2000s is now living accommodation of a very high standard. Living in should be an option for all serving, at least in the medium term. In the event of a real national emergency, you want to be able to keep the majority of your strength (or that of other units) within the barrack walls, and not sleeping on kip mats in the gym at least for a deployment of a month or more..
                          Finner and Gormo, whilst part of the Air Corps system, were also widely regarded from the view of Baldonnel as "out there somewhere" and not really part of us. Gormo was regarded as the Wild West and a punishment posting, as it was classed as an "internal" posting, so it was used as a dumping ground for the unwanted. Because it was shared with an Army unit, it was regarded as not really ours, despite having a runway and an ATC tower. The AC inmates, who lived locally, were quite happy with the place as it kept them out of the eyes of the Don. Gormo was effectively only usable by helis or piston engined aircraft, so it was of limited value. Realistically, the AC can operate anywhere on the island that a Casa can fit into or a helicopter can land on. As for Rathmullen, if it is the port of call of choice, then simply build a permanent Base there. Incidentally, I thoroughly agree with your statement that Living In should be an option and that all DF barracks should have a "surge" capacity, for emergency and transition use.

                          Comment


                          • The vocational aspect of this is being lost - that if you join the service ( Nurse, AGS, soldier ) that the system will feed you and house you . This was a lazy and shortsighted decision from DOD years ago and needs revisiting quickly.
                            "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

                            "No, they're trying to fly the tank"

                            Comment




                            • Not good news for CBB it would appear but wonder if they have factored in cost of building a replacement

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by DeV View Post
                                https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-41319922.html

                                Not good news for CBB it would appear but wonder if they have factored in cost of building a replacement
                                Nah, that's someone elses problem.
                                For now, everything hangs on implementation of the CoDF report.

                                Comment

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