THE city has received a major boost with news that an extra 180 members of the defence Forces are to be transferred to James Stephens’ Barracks, Kilkenny city. It will swell the city’s revenues by around E10 million and is also expected to result in a number of lucrative service contracts for local companies.
The news was relayed by Environment Minister Phil Hogan after yesterday’s (Tuesday) Cabinet meeting. The soldiers will be coming from other centres which are due for closure before the end of the year.
It caps a remarkable turn around in he fortunes of the centuries old installation. Eighteen months ago it was earmarked for closure before Mr Hogan became a minister and since that time it has gone from strength to strength helped by its geographical location as well as having political patronage.
At the end of 2011, there were only 180 members of the army stationed in James Stephens Barracks. However, the closure of a number of the barracks around the county brought an extra 140 personnel to the city last year.
Mayor of the city, Cllr Sean O’hArgain said it was great news for the city and said that there was a proud tradition of military service in Kilkenny and that he was delighted it would continue for many years to come. “This news has copper fastened the future of the barracks and will bring a significant amount of money into the local economy and will help to fight the recession which has seen so many decent businesses close down over the last number of months,” he said.
“We are lucky to have a centre like James Stephens Barracks which is capable of accommodating such numbers and it can only be good thing for the city and environs going forward,” he added.