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Kickham Barracks Clonmel To Close

Kickham Barracks, Clonmel.

It is officially confirmed this afternoon that Kickham Barracks, Waterford Road, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary is to close as part of the Governments Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. Despite protests from the families of Army personnel, Minister for Defence Alan Shatter made the announcement, following a Cabinet meeting at lunchtime today.

No time frame given yet on when the closure will take place, however a barrack consolidation report for the transfer from Clonmel to Limerick shows short-term costs of €250,000 to include €100,000 to accommodate lockers and €50,000 to purchase 12 containers for armoury and stores.

Clonmel, Co Tipperary, has been a garrison town for British troops since its surrender to Cromwell in 1650, but a permanent military barracks was not built in the town until 1780. The reason behind its original construction was a believed threat of rebellion from the growing Irish Volunteer movement. In 1805 the garrison was extended, with the erection of an artillery barracks, built in anticipation of an invasion by Napoleon and the 1870’s saw an enlargement of the existing quarters.

It became the regimental depot for the Royal Irish Regiment in 1882. Indeed a particularly finely crafted early twentieth-century monument still exists, commemorating those soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment who died in Boer War, in South Africa. latter was erected there in 1910, having been designed by landscape painter and architect R.C. Orpen (1863-1938).

It was at this Barracks that soldiers from the southeast of Ireland, were trained prior to World War I. It was here also that Anti-Treaty Volunteer Jerome Lyons was shot dead in 1923, whilst under interrogation. Lyons was shot when he grabbed the revolver of the interrogating office, while being questioned. Lyons was then only 26 years old.

During the Irish War of Independence Clonmel was garrisoned by the Devonshire Regiment and from mid-1921, the York and Lancaster Regiment. In February 1922 the Barracks was taken over by Richard Dalton, commander of 5th Battalion of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade of the IRA.

The Barracks was renovated in 1945, and housed members of the 12th Infantry Battalion.

Junior Labour Minister Willie Penrose has, today, also resigned his Cabinet post, over the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar, latter an Army base in his own constituency.

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