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Lt Gen Sean Clancy. Irish Defence Forces
Sean Clancy

Irish Defence Forces Chief Sean Clancy appointed as head of EU military committee

Lt Gen Sean Clancy will take over the top job from Austrian General Robert Brieger.


THE CHIEF OF Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Lt Gen Sean Clancy has been appointed as the chair of the European Union military committee.

Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sean Clancy has been in Europe in recent weeks and visited a number of countries to discuss his candidature for the chair of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC). 

Clancy will take over the top job from Austrian General Robert Brieger. 

The EUMC announced the results after a ballot of member state military leaders.

Speaking in Cavan at the PDFORRA annual conference Tánaiste Micheál Martin who is Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs congratulated Clancy and said it was “clearly a win” for Irish diplomacy. 

“There was a sense that his campaign had been going very well – he did a lot of ground work and he is clearly very well thought of across the European Union in terms of clarity of thought and strategic thinking. 

“It does reflect that our personnel are of a very high standard and this is the first time to my knowledge that an Irish man has achieved this very prestigious position within the European Union and reflects very well on the Defence Forces more generally and on their training. 

“It says a lot about the standards of our Defence Forces,” he said. 

Martin said that it was a “significant position” and added it was “very important for us to be part of what is happening in Europe”. 

The Tánaiste got approval in March from Cabinet to formally nominate Clancy, currently Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces, for election to the position.

Clancy will now leave his role as the leader of the Irish Defence Forces and would serve outside the State at the rank of General. He will also have a team of up to ten members of the Defence Forces as support staff.

The EUMC is the highest military body within the EU and was established in January 2001. The committee directs all military activity by the EU with particular attention on union military activities with the Common Security and Defence Policy.

It is not the first time an Irish candidate went for the EUMC chair job. Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, who was then Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, was not successful in 2017. 

52780463557_9a626ebd82_o (2) Austrian General Robert Brieger (left) with Lt Gen Sean Clancy on a recent visit to Ireland. Irish Defence Forces Irish Defence Forces

Clancy was up against a Slovenian and a Polish candidate. 

Clancy is in Europe today for the announcement while Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Tánaiste Micheál Martin is due at the PDFORRA conference in Cavan.

With reporting from Muiris O’Cearbhaill.

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