Minister for Defence in Kilkenny for Opening of €3.3m Facility
The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney TD, reviewed the 65th Infantry Group in Kilkenny, who will shortly deploy to the Golan Heights as part of the United Nations’ Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). During the visit, the Minister also opened a new facility for the Defence Forces.
Addressing the 130-strong contingent in Stephens’ Barracks in Kilkenny, Minister Coveney said “you are heading off to keep peace in a part of the world that has known its share of conflict at a time when millions of innocent Ukrainians are fleeing from an illegal and immoral invasion.”
Reflecting the response of the Irish people to the war in Ukraine, the Minister also paid tribute to the “enormous outpouring of support being offered by tens of thousands of Irish citizens up and down this country, whether in extraordinary fundraising efforts or in that most practical of ways by literally opening their doors to those fleeing war.”
The Minister warmly welcomed the families of the members of the 56th Infantry Group who, following the lifting of Covid restrictions, were able to attend today’s review. Concluding his remarks, the Minister recalled that those deploying would be keeping peace at a time a part of our continent was at war.
Minister Coveney also officially opened a new Gymnasium and Multi Sports facility at James Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny.
The building represents a significant upgrading of the facilities of Stephens’ Barracks and is one of a suite of new infrastructure projects to be delivered for the 1 Bde as part of the Defence Forces 5 Year Infrastructure Plan. Other projects for 1 Bde include renovation and construction of new accommodation blocks in Collins Barracks as well as a new Gym in Limerick.
The Minister stated that “the completion of this new facility has created a modern gymnasium and multi-purpose hall within the confines of Stephens’ Barracks and will provide improved infrastructure to cater for the physical fitness needs of 473 Defence Forces personnel stationed in the Barracks and over 500 as serving personnel on short-term military training courses and security duties.”
This new facility is an important element of the Defence Forces ongoing capital-building programme that is designed to modernise and enhance the training, operational and accommodation facilities available to members.
At a cost of some €3.3m, the Minister went on to say that “this new facility represents a significant investment in built infrastructure for the benefit of the Defence Organisation. This Gymnasium is the first of two such facilities to be completed as part of the 5 year Defence Forces Infrastructure Development Plan, the other being at Sarsfield Barracks Limerick which was completed last summer at an estimated cost of €3m.”
Minister Coveney paid tribute to all those involved in delivering this facility in these challenging times. In particular those within the Defence Forces, the Design Team and the Contractor, Kevin Moore Building Contractors Ltd.