THE Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, T.D. who visited the Defence Forces Training Centre at the Curragh on Friday last, April 8, could not be swayed on any future plans that the new government may have earmarked for the Curragh Camp.
The Minister also refused to discuss the current recruitment and pay freeze and the cut back on overseas missions as implemented by the last outgoing government. “I am settling in to the role very well,” he told the Leinster Leader.
“I’m only four weeks in the job and I’ve no major announcements to make - it is still a learning process - other than to say work is underway on the Defence White Paper.”
The Defence White Paper was first introduced back in 2000 to set out the Government’s policy on Defence for the period of 2000 to 2010.
The Paper was described at the time as ‘a progressive course to meet the new challenges and opportunities facing Ireland and the Defence Forces’.
The Minister would not disclose any details of the new Fine Gael and Labour government strategy for defence or when the Paper would be available.
“There is no immediate time scale and I am not going into the big issues here other than to say work has started, ” he added.
This was Minister Shatter’s second visit to the Curragh since he took over the role as Minister just four weeks ago when he advised that the deployment of 440 troops for the United Nations in Lebannon is planned for later this year in association with the Finnish Armed Forces.
On arrival the Minister was greeted by the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Sean McCann and the General Officer Commanding the Training Centre, Brigadier General Conor O’Boyle.
The Defence Forces Training Centre provides professional military training and education to Defence Forces personnel.
It also manages the Logistics Base and Defence Force Reserve units located within its area of territorial responsibility.
The Defence Forces Training Centre consists of a Headquarters, the Military College, Combat Support College, Combat Service Support College, Supply and Services Unit, Military Police Company, Logistics Base and Defence Forces Reserve units.
Minister Shatter finished his visit with a tour of the camp.