Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, T.D.,Signs Contract for Major Upgrade and Refurbishment of the Dining Hall and Cookhouse at Custume Barracks, Athlone
The Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe T.D., today signed a contract for the refurbishment of the Dining Hall and Cookhouse at Custume Barracks Athlone.
The project will replace the current building at the Barracks which was completed in 1967. The designs for the building were prepared by Officers of the Corps of Engineers, who were successful in drawing up a very modern design for its era that added considerably to the quality of the facilities within Custume Barracks. It is distinctive in both appearance and layout, with the large windows and sloping roof over the semi-circular dining area being particular features.
The work that is being undertaken under this contract will see significant alterations to the internal layout of the kitchen and storage areas with both being completely gutted, re-configured and extended. On completion, the building’s striking external appearance will be rejuvenated and will be future proofed from an energy saving perspective.
The main works contract will be carried out by Bourke Builders Ltd. who were successful in a highly competitive tender competition for the project.
The Minister stated that “the refurbishment and upgrading of the facility is being undertaken as part of the Defence Forces Built Infrastructure programme. The programme is designed to modernise and enhance the training, operational and accommodation facilities available to members of the Defence Forces and is rolled out annually based on military needs and priorities”.
The Minister added the Government’s commitment to the Defence Forces is demonstrated by a significantly increased capital envelope for Defence, as provided for under the National Development Plan. The capital allocation for 2019 provides an additional €29m giving a total of €106m, an increase of 38% on 2018 levels. The Plan provides for further increases over the following years, with an overall total of €541m allocated for Defence for the period 2018 to 2022.
There are currently circa 800 personnel stationed at Custume Barracks. The layout of the refurbished kitchen and ancillary areas will provide a modern facility accommodating all ranks stationed there. The new facility will be capable of meeting the daily demands required of such an installation.
It will comply with all relevant food safety guidelines and Health and Safety requirements and will enable reduced running costs. The upgrade and refurbishment of the building currently in place will provide a modern dining facility and ensure the long-term viability of the complex at the barracks. The project is expected to take a year to complete and will be in use by end 2019.
This construction project, along with others in the course of preparation for tender, demonstrates the commitment of the Minister, the Department and the Defence Forces to maintaining and upgrading Defence Forces’ facilities, both in Custume Barracks and throughout the country.
Overall, this project provides for an investment in PDF facilities at Custume Barracks of approximately €4.1m.
Back Row: (Left to Right): Lt. Col. Johnny Whitaker, Senator Gabrielle McFadden, Minister Kevin "Boxer" Moran, Mr Peter Burke T.D., Councillor Micheál Carrigy, Brigadier General Howard Berney.
Front Row: (Left to Right): Minister with Responsibility for Defence Mr Paul Kehoe, T.D. with Brian & Emer Burke of Burke Builders Ltd.