Defence Forces promotes first woman to colonel

Col Maureen O’Brien named Director of Communications and Information Services

Colonel Maureen O’Brien has become the first woman to be promoted to colonel within the Defence Forces. File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Colonel Maureen O’Brien has become the first woman to be promoted to colonel within the Defence Forces. File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

 

Colonel Maureen O’Brien has become the first woman to be promoted to colonel within the Defence Forces.

Col O’Brien takes up the appointment of Director of Communications and Information Services.

A native of Galway City, Col O’Brien graduated from University College, Galway with Bachelor of Science and Higher Diploma in Education, before being awarded a Cadetship in the Defence Forces in 1981.

On commissioning in 1983 she was posted as an Infantry Officer, to the 4th Infantry Battalion, Cork, returning to the Cadet School some years later as an instructor.

Since then Col O’Brien has held different appointments in operations, training and strategic planning.

At home she has served in Cork, Defence Forces Headquarters, Eastern Brigade headquarters, Dundalk and the Military College.

Her most recent deployment was as Chief of Operations Planning in a multinational sector headquarters in Lebanon.

In 2011, she became the first woman to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and in 2012 became the first woman infantry battalion commander when she was appointed officer commanding 27 Infantry Battalion in Dundalk.

For the last two years she has held an appointment in the Operations Branch of Defence Forces Headquarters where she was the senior staff officer responsible for EU and Nato/PfP engagement.

She has also completed a postgraduate diploma in IT from UCC and holds a first class masters degree in leadership, management and defence studies from NUI Maynooth.