County to lose Reserve Defence Force facilities

Co Leitrim is set to lose its Reserve Defence Force (RDF) facilities in Carrick-on-Shannon and Manorhamilton as part of a massive shakeup of the Defence forces.

Co Leitrim is set to lose its Reserve Defence Force (RDF) facilities in Carrick-on-Shannon and Manorhamilton as part of a massive shakeup of the Defence forces.

Speaking to the Leitrim Observer, a spokesperson for the Defence Forces confirmed that the Carrick-on-Shannon RDF Company facility will be amalgamated into the unit in Boyle, Co Roscommon. Previously Carrick-on-Shannon had been home to D Company of the 58 Reserve Infantry Battalion, based out of Finner Camp in Donegal. However the impending cuts will see Co Leitrim members become part of the existing Permanent Defence Forces 6th Infantry Battalion based in Custume Barracks Athlone, with a strength of 102 personnel.

Those personnel those serving in the RDF Sub-Company in Manorhamilton will be given the choice of either joining the unit in Boyle or Sligo following the changes.

Last week Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, confirmed plans to reduce the size of the RDF and cut funding by 50 percent following a value-for-money report.

As part of the changes, the Defence Force will end the practice of standalone reserve units and introduce a ‘single force concept’ of a Permanent Defence Force with reserve components.

The restructuring will also result in the closure of 31 more Reserve facilities around the country.

Mr Shatter said that while the closure of many RDF locations was “regrettable” the findings of the value-for-money report demanded reform.

The number of Permanent Defence Forces personnel who work full time with the reserves will be reduced from the current 261 to 57, nationally.

Sixteen reserve facilities will be retained at Letterkenny, Sligo, Cavan, Boyle, Castlebar, Mullingar, Navan, Bray, Clifden, Ennis, Tralee, Mallow, Templemore, Waterford, Wexford and Skibbereen.

The review also recommends further cost savings be achieved by using reserves to carry out unpaid duties to assist members of the Permanent Defence Forces but these unpaid duties will not include armed operations

The system of training reserves will also be changed from the existing combination of some paid training days mixed with unpaid days with a gratuity payment - to a system of fully paid training days.