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Protest march over army closures 12.11.08

A PROTEST march aimed at reversing a government decision to close two army barracks in Co Donegal will be held in Letterkenny on Saturday.
The protest is being organised by the Donegal Steering Group Against Barrack Closures who are expecting a strong turn-out at the march from Inishowen.
The group claim government plans to close Rockhill and Lifford barracks and merge them with Finner Camp in Bundoran, will result in an estimated loss to the north Donegal economy of around €12m.
Made up of former Lifford and Rockhill service personnel and the partners of existing defence force members, the campaigners want a military presence kept in the region.
They are calling for Rockhill and Lifford barracks to be amalgamated in one location allowing the local community to "retain jobs and the associated benefits to the local economy". The group also want meetings with Defence Minister Willie O'Dea and An Tanaiste Mary Coughlan to discuss their concerns.
They say if Donegal's entire army capacity is centred in Bundoran, the border region will be left vulnerable and the ability to deploy in an emergency would be significantly curtailed.
A petition launched last weekend has already collected more than 5,000 signatures, said steering group chairman John Durran.
“We are calling on the general public to show support and solidarity with the members of the defence forces and their families who play such a vital role in the local community," said Mr Durran.
"It is essential that we ensure that one barracks is retained in North Donegal. Our public representatives at all levels should be mindful of our plight. Often the very people who serve and protect society do not have a voice that can be heard. The irony is that it is left to a group of citizens to defend our defenders.”
The march begins at the Bus Eireann depot at 1.30pm and will go through Letterkenny to the Market Square.
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