Lt Gen Dermot Earley RIP

Dermot Earley dies aged 62

Wed, Jun 23, 2010

The death has taken place of former Defence Forces chief of staff and GAA all-star Dermot Earley. He was 62 and had been ill for a number of months.

Lieut Gen Sean McCann, who took over the post from Lieut Gen Earley on June 13th, said he was deeply saddened to hear of his former colleague’s death.

“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 said.

“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.”

Lieut Gen McCann praised the former chief for helping to modernise the Defence Forces and enhancing its reputation 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,” he said.

“General Earley was a gifted sportsman and a man of unique interpersonal skills, whose conduct was the very essence of inspirational leadership.”

Lieut Gen Earley was educated at St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, and joined the Army in 1965. He was one of the first officers to join the Army Ranger Wing, when it was in its infancy.

He served with the UN in the Middle East from 1975-1977 and was adjutant of the 52nd Infantry Battalion with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon in 1982 and 1983. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1995 and commanded the 27th Infantry Battalion on the Border. In 2001, he became a colonel and in December 2003 a brigadier general. In February 2004, he was promoted to major general.

Lieut Gen Earley lived in Newbridge, Co Kildare, with his wife Mary. They have six children, one of whom, Dermot Earley jnr, is also a well-known footballer and All Star. He plays for Kildare and is also an Army officer.

He played Gaelic football for Roscommon for 20 years from 1965 to 1985. He was regarded as one of the greatest players never to win an All-Ireland medal. He later managed the Roscommon and Kildare senior football teams.

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