€10 million investment for Curragh Army HQ?

There’s good news for the Newbridge area following the publication of a review of the future of the decentralisation project nationally.

There’s good news for the Newbridge area following the publication of a review of the future of the decentralisation project nationally.

The report, released last week, has recommended that the government remains committed to keeping the Department of Defence in Kildare, and to bringing the Defence Forces HQ to the Curragh.

But the report also acknowledges that funding, estimated at €10 million remains an issue.

A pet project of the former Minister for Finance and Kildare man, Charlie McCreevy, the roll out of decentralisation has slowed since the start of the recession and the end of the term of the Fianna Fail-led government.

And the review has recommended the closure or sale of several of the offices that were built around the country for decentralised departments.

The issue is further complicated by the general decline in numbers of people working in the public service.

But the good news from a Kildare and Newbridge point of view is that the authors of the review recommended that the administrative centre for the Department of Defence should be retained in Newbridge.

Although it also recommends that there should be a “limited, permanent presence” for the department in Dublin.

The report recommends that the Government continue with its support for the other major decentralisation project in Newbridge, namely moving the headquarters of the Defence Forces to the Curragh.

However, the authors of the report have also recommended that it should proceed on a cost effective basis when budgetary resources permit.

However, the review points out that it will be difficult to meet the estimated n10m cost in the short term.

The confirmation of the Government’s ongoing support for the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces Headquarters was welcomed by the Mayor of Newbridge, Damien Molyneaux.

The Labour councillor pointed to the value of decentralisation, noting that as well as bringing people and jobs into an area, it had, in the case of the Department of Defence building on the Milltown road, been the spark that saw other infrastructural work and development in the area.

Meanwhile the report also confirms its support for the decentralised offices in Athy.

Conor McHugh

conor@leinsterleader.ie