Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Military Barracks Maintenance/Modernisation

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Military Barracks Maintenance/Modernisation

    There is a depressing report/view on the general state of Military accommodations and in particular the state of The Curragh Camp. The piece is in todays Irish Examiner highlighting decades of decline in the quality of buildings at the Curragh and many other posts including the Naval Base at Haulbowline. There is also the embarrassment of foreign students seeing our standards and not being able to accommodate at the camp while on courses. The collapse of the Married Quarters System is highlighted at the Curragh with suitable grotty photographs and the deserted village view of what we use to call our GPO. The cause is put down to neglect. In some way we in uniform must also be to blame for allowing such degradation to structures in our care. For many years all and sundry have lived in a recycling assortment of camp type accommodation and even worse for those UP on annual reserve training. The perpetuation of such standards is a definite call to order and account by all in the culpable brackets in Government and Uniform.

  • #2
    We can blame our own training to a certain extent. Instead of improving conditions, we improvise, and work with what we have. It was the rising value of city centre properties that saw the sale of many of the more decrepid barracks, and then the proceeds of sale went to "improve" the buildings that remained.
    McKee is pretty to look at on the outside, but apart from where Army HQ lives, as anyone who has tried to get dressed after a 10K when it went from there will know, the place is a shambles. The horses had better facilities. We expect the Defence Forces to live in Victorian or Edwardian accommodation which would be better suited to being a museum.
    Most of us will remember the way the huts in both Kilworth and Coolmooney used to be. If anyone at home decided they could use an old rotting timber garden shed as a place to sleep, their other half would soon be calling the Doctor.
    Yet we put up with it for decades. Broken toilets, urinals without roofs, nothing resembling a shower until the mid 90s, and even then only between certain hours. 60 to a room that today would sleep 12. Dining facilities that resembled the local parish hall after a jumble sale. Kitchens that lacked basic hygene facilities, or equipment (how many here did kitchen duty over the years? A fekin catering size dishwasher would have done the work of 20 of those working kitchens).

    Even when improvements are made, some gobshite still decides to mess it up. A famous tale in Cork is of the then new Hangars build after Artillery and Cavalry moved to Collins Bks from Fermoy & Ballincollig. Because of the modernised optics on the cav vehicles, being exposed to cold temps was a no-no. In the old days of tin sheds, they were either (a) not kept with the vehicle/gun and instead stored indoors or (b) had not yet been fitted.
    So some "idea fairy" decided to look good for his next promotion board, he would initiate a review of energy consumption.
    Why is the heating working in the gun park when there is nobody on site? That's "inefficient"! Said officer proudly orders heating off at weekends and by night.
    Collins Bks is on a hill. A hill which gets covered by fog. Fog is caused by moisture in the atmosphere being cooled. Fog is cold. Its bad for electronics and optics. Normally not a problem when you store electronics and optics in a climate controlled environment. Unless some numpty has disabled the climate control and the temp inside the building is the same as on the outside. Then temp drops further and the moisture you have introduced into optics and electronics freezes. That's your big shoot in the glen postponed for a few months.

    Another scenario, I was sent to a since demolished training centre in the mid-west in the early 2000s. Conditions were shocking, actual mould visible on the wall of the billet we had to live in. My unit took a group photo in front of the mould. We shared it. Publicly in the social media that existed at the time. I was told the Home units CO was not impressed that we would bring shame on his (close to golf amenities and caravan parks) training centre in such a way. (It was upgraded when I was back there some years after, I guess drawing attention to it worked).

    So many times we hear similar stories.
    Spike Island, used for years to train members of the NS, had to have its accommodation upgraded to take prisoners, because the conditions they were to live in needed to be of a standard higher than that the Members of the DF were expected to live and work in. They would be livng in the same billet blocks (it was initially an open prison, cell blocks came later on) but Civil Rights groups had already determined the standard a convicted criminal would live in was better than a sailor or soldier.

    Fort Davis, long used as a training location for the FCA annual camp, was converted for use as a FIBUA/MOUT training centre. the alterations required to do so was to add doors where there had not been doors before. Otherwise it was perfect to represent a war ravaged village or town, having few functioning windows, and no running water to speak of. (the water tank having collapsed from corrosion sometime in the 1970s).

    The demise of the married quarters, in some cases was a huge advantage. Units who had been hqd in a timber or metal hut, suddenly had a house with a roof and windows from which they could carry out their business. No it wasn't ideal, but it was better than what had been. The lucky ones even had central heating.

    I could make a long list of Former Barracks that the DF had carefully preserved in the condition they had been when the brits left. As soon as they were sold out of DF hands they were either bulldozed or gutted to make a modern workplace.
    Aerodrome, Fermoy: Bulldozed, only the church remains.
    Ballincollig: Only the buildings of the main Square remain, now modern offices, everything else bulldozed.
    Clonmel: Very little remaining, any building that was "temporary" in nature is gone.
    Monaghan:
    Castleblaney: Nothing of it remains
    Dublin: Clancy: Apartment blocks replace the old barrack blocks. Griffith: Anything that could be used as classroom was kept, everything else demolished, all buildings gutted and rebuilt in place. Collins: The only Barracks that still looks like a barracks on the outside, but on the inside, old soldiers would struggle to recognise it.
    Templemore: AGS moved in back in the 60s, and tolerated the army conditions until the late 80s at which point they knocked everything except the front block, which was repurposed to offices on the ground floor, linked by a patio style corridor to the rear, arch closed off with PVC doorway. New single accom built on footprint of old blocks, The best example of what should be done with every barracks in the country. Even the barrack chapel was converted, initially into an A/V room and studio, now a Museum. Look at the photo below, and understand that behind each window above ground floor lies a single room with wash hand basin. wardrobe and desk. Each room has a key that is the property of the occupant for the duration of their stay. Each floor has 2 Shower/bathroom units, 2 blocks have laundry rooms. 44 Students on Each floor,4 blocks with 3 floors of single rooms, 3 blocks with 2 floors of single accom.
    If the room is for sleeping, thats all its for. If its an office, it has no other use. Storerooms are for storing things, garages are where vehicles go, and classrooms are for classes! The Cafe is self funding, the "mess" is currently controversial but was perfect for use as a bar/theater/exam hall. An new block of modern classrooms were built behind the main block, as was a Gym & Swimming pool. Foreign Police officers frequently live on site when here for courses or seminars. A small arms range of the type only recently seen in the DF was on site here since 1992.
    Oddly the GS had no interest in the supposed "heritage" of the building.


    Knock it, build a new building in its place to a similar plan and profile, but with moder fit for purpose facilities.. In 100 years nobody will care that this barracks is one of 50 identical buildings built by the british to control the uppity irishmen.

    For now, everything hangs on the CoDF report, still possibly 2 weeks from the Ministers desk.

    Comment


    • #3
      Those that serve have experienced the conditions outlined in your history. There is still currency in those conditions. Every time you hear of camps being used for some new project or temporary reason, you must accept Dickensian environments and make do. There are no conditions of living aspects considered in major unit shifts, just is there room, how many can you take at a squeeze. Get beds, lockers from stores , and pack them in. In 1947 in Gormanstown the main call up of Pearse battalion we lived in tents ,used latrines, washed in the open, and ate in the hangars. All modern Armies have married Quarters or take over adjacent civilian accommodation as neccessary. We never did conditions as it has never been defined.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post

        Another scenario, I was sent to a since demolished training centre in the mid-west in the early 2000s. Conditions were shocking, actual mould visible on the wall of the billet we had to live in. My unit took a group photo in front of the mould. We shared it. Publicly in the social media that existed at the time. I was told the Home units CO was not impressed that we would bring shame on his (close to golf amenities and caravan parks) training centre in such a way. (It was upgraded when I was back there some years after, I guess drawing attention to it worked).
        I know the place. It was in a fantastic location however. There is currently a three bed house going for about 925k just up the road. I can see why the CO was endeared to the training centre.
        Last edited by Auldsod; 23 November 2021, 20:07.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Auldsod View Post

          I know the place. It was in a fantastic location however. There is currently a three bed house going for about 925k just up the road. I can see why the CO was endeared to the training centre.
          Great location, horrendous living conditions. Unacceptable.
          For now, everything hangs on the CoDF report, still possibly 2 weeks from the Ministers desk.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post

            Great location, horrendous living conditions. Unacceptable.
            Indeed. I was not one bit surprised to see it leveled to the ground.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Auldsod View Post

              Indeed. I was not one bit surprised to see it leveled to the ground.
              The bad storms of a few years back would have helped, if the buildings were not already knocked by then.
              For now, everything hangs on the CoDF report, still possibly 2 weeks from the Ministers desk.

              Comment


              • #8
                I was watching that Underdogs programme on TV the other day and there was Coolmoney Camp. I trained in it when it was a shithole of the highest order and now look, beautiful modern quarters. I guess being embarrassed in front of foreigners,( UN school attendees) has it's uses. Same with Baldonnel. 1917 hangars falling down and they wondered why the Dauphins had so many electrical problems. Took a while but at least they did flatten all the old kips and build decent buildings. 20 years after we really needed them but better than it was.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
                  I was watching that Underdogs programme on TV the other day and there was Coolmoney Camp. I trained in it when it was a shithole of the highest order and now look, beautiful modern quarters. I guess being embarrassed in front of foreigners,( UN school attendees) has it's uses. Same with Baldonnel. 1917 hangars falling down and they wondered why the Dauphins had so many electrical problems. Took a while but at least they did flatten all the old kips and build decent buildings. 20 years after we really needed them but better than it was.
                  Think the first modern current huts in the Glen went up from 2002 or so

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DeV View Post

                    Think the first modern current huts in the Glen went up from 2002 or so
                    I'd say earlier. Whatever year the 1st Brigade were washed off the hillside during an ex. I know I was still wearing OG combats and carrying an FN (with loads of ammo that I never got to fire). DPM was new to the PDF.
                    We had set our kit up in the old huts as in the past only to be moved into the newer blocks (where we never got to sleep).
                    To go from glorified garden sheds with 40 in a 60 foot x 20 foot space to the same space shared by just 12, each in a single bunk, with an intact mattress and blankets that weren't left behind by the brits, central heating and showers that had water, and were hot too! Thankfully Kilworth followed suit not long after.
                    For now, everything hangs on the CoDF report, still possibly 2 weeks from the Ministers desk.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by na grohmiti View Post

                      I'd say earlier. Whatever year the 1st Brigade were washed off the hillside during an ex. I know I was still wearing OG combats and carrying an FN (with loads of ammo that I never got to fire). DPM was new to the PDF.
                      We had set our kit up in the old huts as in the past only to be moved into the newer blocks (where we never got to sleep).
                      To go from glorified garden sheds with 40 in a 60 foot x 20 foot space to the same space shared by just 12, each in a single bunk, with an intact mattress and blankets that weren't left behind by the brits, central heating and showers that had water, and were hot too! Thankfully Kilworth followed suit not long after.
                      Definitely not July 2001 and they were definitely there in July 2003

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        That Exercise ("Mirror Image" aka the retreat from Moscow )was in 2002.
                        "Let us be clear about three facts. First, all battles and all wars are won in the end by the infantryman. Secondly, the infantryman always bears the brunt. His casualties are heavier, he suffers greater extremes of discomfort and fatigue than the other arms. Thirdly, the art of the infantryman is less stereotyped and far harder to acquire in modern war than that of any other arm." ------- Field Marshall Wavell, April 1945.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And the story goes on in epic proportions as today's feedback from statements/conferences is that Cathal Brugha is up for disposal, causing trauma among families and troops stationed there. It seems to me that Government is de-soldiering property at a rate of knots in the east---- Clancy barracks, Kildare Barracks, Collins Barracks, AHQ Infirmary Road, and now Cathal Brugha. That will also put a broadside into two naval reserve Units making them and others homeless or put into emergency accommodation ala Simon or Peter McVerry. Portobello must be worth in excess of a Billion. Spend every last penny on new Military buildings and rehousing families free of charge.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yet the pony club still has pride of place in McKee!
                            While the disposal of Cathal Brugha may be a fait accompli, the DoD, and perhaps the OPW has a very poor record when it comes to getting good value for property it disposes of. Kildare Barracks still derelict, 3 decades after the lorries left for the last time. Its also a case of selling off the family silver. Once its gone you can't sell it again. The equipment bought with the proceeds of the sale of Closed Barracks in the 1990s, will soon become obsolete. Then what?
                            It's time the Govt realises that Spending on defence is not an expense, it's more akin to an insurance policy. You may not see the return in the short term, or at all, but when you need it most, you'll be glad you have it.
                            For now, everything hangs on the CoDF report, still possibly 2 weeks from the Ministers desk.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And the story goes on in epic proportions as today's feedback from statements/conferences is that Cathal Brugha is up for disposal,
                              running rumour . Not included in LDA land grab, only Bricins was in that
                              "Are they trying to shoot down the other drone? "

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

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X