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THE Army moved out of Ballincollig, Co Cork yesterday - and the Church moved in.

As the ceremonial lowering of the flag took place and the last post was sounded, it was revealed that the local parish priest, Fr. Leonard O'Brien, had taken over the use of the Army gym. And there are at least 8 bids in for the purchase of the land and buildings on the 100 acre site.

It could well be that the barracks will become a new shopping centre. But it was a day of great sadness in both Ballincollig and Fermoy as the military link with the garrison towns was finally severed.

These are the first of 6 barracks to be closed in the course of the next few days.

Thousands of people, including hundreds of school children, gathered along the streets of both towns yesterday to give the soldiers a rousing send-off.

One hundred and thirty soldiers, members of the FCA 8th Field Artillery Regiment and the Ist Field Artillery Regiment marched out from Murphy Barracks led by the GOC of the Southern Command, Brigadier General David Taylor and members of the Band of the Southern Command. Earlier 90 members of the Ist Cavalry Squadron left Fitzgerald Camp in Fermoy for the last time.

Both groups marched into Collins Barracks in Cork where they have been transferred.

However, thirty of the men have indicated that they wish to retire with a number availing of the voluntary early retirement scheme.

A contingent will remain in Ballincollig at a commercial explosives dump.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Reading, Denis
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 29, 1998
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