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Former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley has die

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  • Former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley has die

    Defence Forces News

    Wednesday 23 June, 2010 1245hrs

    It is with great sadness that the Defence Forces have learned of the death of former Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley, at the age of 62.

    General Earley, who retired from the Defence Forces on the 13th of June, had been ill for a number of months.

    Reacting to news of General Earley?s death, the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Sean McCann said:

    "I am deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of Lieutenant General Dermot Earley. He was a man of exceptional personal qualities, who made an enormous contribution to the Defence Forces throughout his 44 years of distinguished service. He was a hugely talented officer, whose personal charm and charisma, together with his extraordinary leadership skills, won him universal respect and admiration throughout the organisation and the entire country. He was an officer of keen intellect who focussed his many talents and abilities on modernising the Defence Forces and on enhancing the reputation of the organisation both at home and overseas. An iconic figure, General Earley represented the Defence Forces, both nationally and internationally, in a manner that instilled pride and confidence in those he commanded. General Earley was a gifted sportsman and a man of unique interpersonal skills, whose conduct was the very essence of inspirational leadership. On behalf of the Defence Forces, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his wife Mary and to his family. Ar dheis De go raibh a ainm dilis."

    As Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Earley oversaw the deployment of the significant Defence Forces contribution to the Chad Mission. This deployment demonstrated increased force projection and logistics capability by the Defence Forces and advanced the Defence Forces ability to operate in adverse environments. He also directed key initiatives in equipment purchases, personnel practices and education, positioning the Defence Forces as an organisation where best practice and modern technologies are accepted as the norm and where personnel are key enablers to all Defence Force capabilities.

    In April, General Earley was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) with Honour by An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen. The citation with the medal read: "For outstanding qualities of leadership, resource and devotion to duty as Chief of Staff in successfully commanding the Defence Forces for his period as Chief of Staff and for his distinguished service with the United Nations."

    Lt Gen Earley was born in 1948 and joined the Defence Forces as a Cadet in 1965. He was commissioned into the Infantry Corps in 1967 and appointed a Platoon Commander in the Recruit Training Depot at the Curragh. He specialised in Physical Training and Education and was appointed an Instructor at the Army School of Physical Culture (ASPC) in 1969. He completed a specialist Diploma in physical education at St. Mary?s College Twickenham in 1971.

    He held a variety of operational and administrative appointments in the Curragh Command and completed the First Ranger Course in the Defence Forces, which led to the establishment of Special Operations Training and the formation of the Army Ranger Wing (ARW).

    Following a period as Assistant Command Adjutant at Curragh Command Headquarters (HQ), General Earley was appointed School Commandant of the ASPC. From 1983 to 1987 he worked as a Staff Officer for overseas operations and later current operations in the Chief of Staff?s Branch at Defence Forces Headquarters (DFHQ). On return from an overseas posting in 1991 he was appointed an instructor at the Command & Staff School of the Military College and in 1994/95 he helped establish the United Nations Training School Ireland (UNTSI) in the Military College.

    On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1995, he commanded the 27th Infantry Battalion headquartered in Dundalk, and held further appointments as Officer In Charge (OIC) of Conciliation and Arbitration and OIC Public Relations at DFHQ. He was promoted to Colonel in 2001 and held the appointments of Director of Administration and Director of Personnel before been selected for promotion to Brigadier General in December 2003. General Earley was promoted to Major General in Feb 2004 and was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff (Support). He was appointed Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces by the Government on 28 June 2007.

    Lt Gen Earley had extensive overseas service. He served with the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation (UNTSO) in the Middle East from 1975 to 1977, and was Adjutant of the 52 Infantry Battalion with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1982/83. From 1987 to 1991 he served as the Deputy Military Advisor to the Secretary General of the UN at UN Headquarters in New York. Lt Gen Earley commanded the 81st Infantry Battalion with UNIFIL in 1997.

    Lt Gen Earley played Gaelic football for Roscommon for twenty years (1965 ? 1985) and was the holder of five Connaught Senior medals, 2 All Star Awards, 1 National League medal (1979), 1 U21 All Ireland Medal (1966) An All Ireland runners up Medal (1980) and 2 Railway Cup Medals.

    He is survived by his mother Kitty, his wife Mary, his Sons David, Dermot and Conor, his daughters Paula, Ann-Marie and Noelle, his daughter-in-law Sinead, his grandson Oisin and by his brothers Paul and Peter, and his sisters Margaret and Denise.

    A military funeral will take place for Lt Gen Earley, the details of which will be announced later.

    Press Officer: Comdt. Neil Nolan 01 8042687 : 087 2482130

    e-mail: Press Officer web:

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

  • #2
    Statement from Mr Tony Killeen TD, Minister for Defence on the death of former Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley
    23 June 2010
    “I have learned with shock and sadness of the death of the Lieutenant General Dermot Earley. To his wife Mary, his mother Kitty and his family I would like to extend my deepest sympathy.

    Since taking over as Minister for Defence, I have encountered time and again evidence of Dermot’s outstanding leadership and ability. Because of his unique blend of leadership and personal warmth he was held in the highest esteem by all who served in the Defence Forces. To the wider community he will, of course, always be remembered as an outstanding sportsman having achieved success with his native county Roscommon and his adopted county Kildare.”

    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm dílis.


    Derval Monahan Press Adviser to Minister Killeen, Department of Defence, Mobile + 353876781608. Email

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.