MOD in planning move to improve barracks security
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has made a planning application to have the entrance to Palace Barracks improved.
A local councillor has also said the MOD have applied to increase security at Kinnegar, however an MOD spokesperson would not confirm or deny this claim.
The planning application was filed last month and contains plans for a new security building, reconfiguration of site access and road layout and a search bay.
A car bomb exploded outside the gates of the barracks minutes after justice powers were devolved from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Executive in 2010.
The Real IRA admitted planting the bomb. No one was killed but one man was injured in the explosion.
A MOD spokesperson said: “We keep security under constant review and take appropriate action when necessary.
“The planning application has gone ahead and that’s really where things have got to.”
Andrew Muir, North Down Alliance candidate, said: “We don’t have the full details on the planning application yet — but it is regrettable that security has to be increased.
“It is important to protect the safety of individuals who are protecting individuals across our country. It is very sad these changes have to be made.”
He said Kinnegar barracks was also to be upgraded, and spoke of the strong relationship between the armed forces and the local community.
“There always has been a strong relationship between the two, but it is getting stronger at the moment,” he added.
He said the soldiers were an integral part of the community and locals were “proud to have the barracks in the community”.
Councillor Ian Parsley said there is “genuine concern” in the local community.
“I think this move makes sense — there are some concerns locally about security lapses,” he said.
“Most people would support the upgrade. A lot of work has been done to make a link between the community and the barracks.”
DUP Alderman Gordon Dunne said he welcomed such measures to improve security at the entrance to the barracks.
“Such proposals must be sympathetic to the local environment and should respect the requirements of the local community in relation to issues as privacy and noise,” he said
“The local people of Redburn and Loughview have lived in harmony with their neighbours at Palace Barracks over many difficult years, and it is important that this is respected — in relation to any such improvements proposed at the entranceway to the base.”