Published on July 18th, 2021 | by Alan Dwyer


Former GOC of the Air Corps Appointed as Chief of Staff of Defence Forces

Former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Irish Air Corps, Major General Seán Clancy has been appointed the new Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces. The former pilot will take up the position following the retirement of Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett on 29th September. He will be the first Irish Air Corps Officer to hold the role. The Government accepted Minister for Defence Simon Coveney’s recommendation of the nomination and it will now go to President Michael D. Higgins for approval.

Maj Gen Clancy has been deputy chief of staff since April 2019. He joined the Defence Forces as a cadet in 1984. He moved on to hold a number of senior roles, including squadron commander, wing commander, senior staff officer operations and senior staff officer personnel before being appointed GOC of the Air Corps in 2017. He has accumulated over 4,600 hours with the majority on helicopters. He has spent time as a pilot and instructor on fixed-wing and rotary aircraft and was a search-and-rescue pilot for a long period too. He was the commander of a flight crew that received the Marine Medal for Meritorious Service in 2002.

Seán also played a central role in the development of Ireland’s first Emergency Aeromedical Service (EMS) that was established in 2012. The EMS service is based in Custume Barracks in Athlone has been credited with dramatically reducing response times in serious medical incidents. He co-authored the Defence Forces leadership doctrine, published in 2016. He subsequently led the team that developed the current vision and values-based strategy for the Defence Forces after the publication of the White Paper on defence.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Trinity College, Dublin and a Masters in Military Leadership and Defence Studies from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. He is a graduate of the Defence Forces Command and Staff College where he was the recipient of the Lt Gen Tadgh O’Neill Award. In 2017, he completed a Diploma in Advanced Management Performance with Smurfit Business School. Seán is a native of Mitchelstown, Co. Cork and lives in Dublin with his wife and three children.

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