Officer dismissed over foul language


A squadron commander in the Air Corps has been dismissed from the Defence Forces for using insulting language to his superior.

Commandant Niall Donohoe (47), a commissioned officer of 28 years service in the defence forces, called his commanding officer Lieut Col Gerry O’Sullivan a “little prick” at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel on January 30th last year.

Military judge Col Tony McCourt said Comdt Donohoe’s offence was “near the serious end” of guilty of one charge of using insulting language to a superior officer contrary to Section 133 of the Defence Act 1954.

Comdt Donohoe, who is attached to number five Support Wing in the Air Corps, claimed that he said “this is a little prickly” during his appraisal hearing with Lieut Col O’Sullivan.

Sentencing Comdt Donohoe at a general court martial in McKee Barracks, the judge said the military board, which had acted as a jury in the case, did not believe him and neither did he.

He told Comdt Donohoe that his behaviour was “entirely unacceptable” and constituted "gross misconduct" from a commissioned officer of his experience.

Senior officers were expected to uphold the highest standards of discipline and loyalty and to set an example to others, the judge added.

Col McCourt said he was minded to impose a 12 months prison sentence and a dismissal with disgrace from the defence forces, but took into account mitigating circumstances.

This included his hitherto perfect disciplinary record, his services overseas which included rescuing a colleague from the line-of-fire in Lebanon, his personal circumstances as a father of two young children, his voluntary work in his local GAA club, his previous good appraisals from other years and the testimony of character witnesses.

Comdt Donohoe has 21 days to appeal his dismissal to a Court Martials Appeals Board which is presided over by a civilian judge.

He also faces 11 other charges which will now be the subject of five different trials. The 11 charges have been put in for mention to June 29th.