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Defence Forces chief appointed head of EU Military Cttee

The Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces has been elected as chair of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC), the highest military body within the EU.

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin described the appointment as very significant, saying Lt Gen Sean Clancy will be the first Irish person to hold the role.

Mr Martin received a text message with the news from Lt Gen Clancy while speaking to journalists on his way into the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) conference in Co Cavan this afternoon.

“I think that it reflects well on our deforces more generally on their training and capability, for Sean Clancy to be selected by his peers to this very prestigious postion,” he said.

The Minister for Defence then entered the conference to delegates standing in silence before announcing that the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces has been elected to the EUMC.

He will take up the position in May 2025.

LT Gen Clancy would be promoted on a temporary basis to the rank of four-star general for the three year period of the appointment in Brussels, Belgium.

He is currently a three-star general.

Recruitment, retention ‘still a challenge’

PDFORRA, which represents 6,500 enlisted members of the army, naval service and air corps, is holding a three-day conference in Ballyconnell.

Earlier, PDFORRA President Mark Keane said amongst a wide range of issues being debated and discussed at the conference were payment allowances, implementing the European Working Time Directive and grievance processes.

Mr Keane said recruitment and retention is still a challenge and this was an issue raised by many delegates speaking today.

He said: “We are currently down to 7,500, we’re short over 2,000 personnel in the Defence Forces.”.

“The department itself and the Government’s own plan is for 2028 to have the figure up to 11,500,” he added.

“Its very ambitious, we understand that but we need to implement the ‘three R’s’; retention, remuneration and recruitment, the three must go together, we cannot have a situation where we’re investing in military hardware and not in personnel.”

Mr Keane said the most advanced equipment is made redundant without the people to operate it.

“We see it in the naval service, we’ve seen it across units in the army and in the Aer Corps”, he said.

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