25 May 2021

The United Nations has announced the appointment of Maureen O’Brien to the post of Deputy Military Advisor in the Office of Military Affairs, Department of Peace Operations. This appointment is at the rank of Major General.

The role of the Deputy Military Advisor is to assist and support the Military Advisor in all his/her responsibilities, specifically in the provision of generic and mission-related military advice on a wide variety of issues to the Secretary-General, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, to the Force Commanders and Chief Military Observers in the field, to other departments within the UN Secretariat and to other United Nations Agencies.

Simon Coveney, T.D., the Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs has warmly welcomed the appointment. The Minister stated

Maureen has extensive command and peacekeeping experience having served most recently as Deputy Force Commander in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)  and I have no doubt that she will make an important contribution in this new role as part of the UN team.   I want to warmly congratulate her on her achievement and wish her every success in this prestigious post

Jacqui McCrum, first female Secretary General for the Department of Defence very much welcomes Maureen’s appointment. Ms McCrum stated today

I am delighted to welcome the appointment of Maureen to this role, which is a is ground-breaking one for the Defence Organisation. Maureen brings a wealth of experience to this position and is a great role model for members of the Defence Organisation.

Vice Admiral Mark Mellett DSM, Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces welcomes this appointment, stating

I would like to congratulate Maureen on this historic achievement, which sees the first female officer in the history of the state reach the rank of Major General. I am immensely proud of her dedicated service as a soldier, a leader and a peacekeeper.  Maureen brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to her new role and continues to be an invaluable member of the UN and of Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Her most recent appointment was in the rank of Brigadier General as Deputy Force Commander, UNDOF from September 2019 to March 2021, where she served as Acting Force Commander from October 2019 to July 2020. Maureen has extensive overseas service. In 2009 she became the first Irish female officer to serve as Deputy Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion in Chad (MINURCAT).  In 2011 she became the first female in the Irish Defence Forces to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in 2012 she became the first female Infantry Battalion Commander when she was appointed Officer Commanding 27th Infantry Battalion.