We congratulate Maj Gen Maureen O’Brien who was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, with Honour at her stand down parade on Friday 13 Oct 2023 at McKee Bks at the end of forty two years service in the Defence Forces. Gen O’Brien was born in Galway City in 1960 and after she finished her B Sc degree at UCG she started as a science teacher at the Dominican Convent in Cabra. She has also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology and holds a first-class Master’s Degree in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies.
She joined the DF as a member of the 58 Cadet Class in Nov 1981. She was commissioned in Mar 1983 and was appointed to the 4 Inf Bn. She returned to the the Cdt Sch as Lieut Instr Corps. Gen O’Brien achieved a number of “firsts” for females in the DF; she was the first DCO of an overseas Bn, the first female line Lt Col and CO 27 Inf Bn in 2011, in 2016 she was promoted Col and appointed as Dir CIS.
She has extensive overseas service with the UN and OSCE, including tours of duty in Lebanon (UNIFIL) including one tour with 78 Inf Bn during the IDF Op Grapes of Wrath, Western Sahara (MINURSO) in 2000, East Timor (UNTAET) and in tChad (MINURCAT) as DCO of 100 Inf Bn in 2009. In 2005 she was seconded to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Sarajevo (BiH) for eighteen months.
In 2012 she deployed to UNIFIL once more as Chief of Operations Planning in a multi-national Sector HQ in Lebanon. On promotion to Brig Gen in Sep 2019, she deployed as Deputy Force Commander of the UN Disengagement Observer Forces (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights. She spent 11 of her 18-month deployment as the Acting Force Commander where she commanded a force of over 1200 personnel. In July 2021, Maj Gen O’Brien deployed to United Nations Headquarters, New York to take up the appointment of Deputy Military Advisor to USG for Peace Ops.
The DSM may be awarded to officers, non-commissioned officers and privates of the DF and to members of the Army Nursing and Chaplaincy Services in recognition of individual or associated acts of bravery, courage and leadership, resource or devotion to duty (other than any such acts or duty performed on war service) arising out of, or associated with, service in the DF.