Community groups to be hit by barracks closure

Women’s Refuge Cuan Saor is one of the many community, charity and voluntary groups in Clonmel that will greatly miss the soldiers of Kickham Barracks.

Women’s Refuge Cuan Saor is one of the many community, charity and voluntary groups in Clonmel that will greatly miss the soldiers of Kickham Barracks.

The barracks has been an integral part of the community in Clonmel opening its gates to the community for events such as the family fun day as part of SS Peter & Pauls Parish Bicentenary last year and Defence Forces open day the year before.

Kickham Barracks soldiers were on hand to help people of the town in difficulty in the long stretch of snow and icy weather last winter and during the floods that engulfed parts of the town.

And behind the scenes, soldiers have also fundraised and provided practical assistance to a long list of local community groups and charities, including Cuan Saor, which runs a refuse for women and their children fleeing domestic violence and a 24 hour help line for domestic violence victims.

Cuan Saor’s Co-ordinator Geraldine Mullane said they were very saddened that Kickham Barracks was to close and she feels the loss of the barracks will have a huge impact on the town’s community life.

“We are funded by the HSE and local authority but there is always a shortfall and over the past five years if not longer some of the personnel at the barracks held table quizzes there and donated the proceeds to us. Sometimes we organised quizzes ourselves and the soldiers would have come along and helped us.

“We also regularly had functions in the Town Hall and coffee mornings. We borrowed the tableware and tables from the barracks and the soldiers brought them to us and took them away. It was a huge help to us. We could call on them for stuff like that.”

Geraldine also recalled that during the very bad cold patches over the last two winters, some of their staff working on the 24 hour helpline were unable to get to work due to the icy road conditions but soldiers from the barracks came to the rescue transporting them to work and home again.

“We have never been flooded but came very close to it and again as an organisation it was nice to know that the army were there. I remember they dropped off sandbags to us.

“They have been really, really helpful to us. Nothing was ever a bother to the soldiers. Our staff who the soldiers brought to and from over Christmas just said they were so pleasant and nothing was a hassle for them.”