SOLDIERS forced to move barracks following the closure of four military installations will have to be paid significant financial compensation for the move, it has emerged.

The troops will be eligible for payments that could range from €1,000 to €10,000 if they are forced to move house or commute long distances. The total cost of moving the 650 troops and 40 civilian personnel could end up costing the taxpayer more than €600,000, the Sunday Tribune has learned.

The soldiers were forced to move after four barracks and military posts at Longford, Monaghan, Lifford and Rockhill in Co Donegal were closed as part of a cost-cutting plan by the Department of Defence.

However, none of the sites have been sold by the government, while each one has to be guarded by private security in the meantime.

The Department of Defence said they could not put a final cost on how much compensation would be paid as it depended on "individual circumstances".

"Actual expenditure on change of station can only be determined once all claims have been received and processed. While a number of claims have been received to date, it is expected that there may be other personnel who might have an entitlement but have not yet submitted a claim."

Soldiers being transferred more than 40km other than at their own request and who own a house are automatically entitled to claim compensation. Soldiers are entitled to claim for refund of house purchase and sale costs, including advertising.

Security analyst Declan Power said: "There was no proper strategy in place for the closure of these posts and barracks. Some of them could probably have been sold at the height of the boom and all that is happening now is additional cost and upheaval with very little return for the taxpayer."