Ireland to take on the Role of Mission Commander in EU Training Mission Somalia.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D., approved last week the nomination of Colonel Michael Beary to the post of Mission Commander for EUTM Somalia, the EU Mission to train Somali Security Forces in Uganda last week.  Colonel Beary was subsequently approved as mission commander last Friday by the European Council.  This is the second time Ireland has headed up an EU military mission, the last one being the EU Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic, which was headed up by Lt Gen Pat Nash.  Speaking following the approval of Col Beary as mission Commander, the Minister said “This is a singular honour for Ireland to again be asked to head up an important EU mission.  While the mission may not have the same profile as EUFOR Chad/RCA had, it is a key element in the EU’s engagement in supporting the security situation in the horn of Africa and in delivering support and security to the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.  Enhancing the capacity of the Somali authorities to provide for their own security is the only real solution to the problems of lawlessness within the country and piracy on its seas.  I congratulate Col Beary and wish him well in his conduct of this operation”.

This EU military training mission was launched on 7 April 2010, in support of UN Security Council Resolution 1872.  The mission operates in close co-operation and coordination with other international actors, in particular, the United Nations, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Uganda and the United States of America.

EUTM Somalia comprises approximately 150 personnel, from fourteen EU Member States and is currently being led by Spain as framework nation.  Ireland will take over the Mission Commander role from Colonel Ricardo Gonzalez Elul of the Spanish Armed Forces at the beginning of September.  Ireland currently contributes three (3) personnel to a joint training team with the Maltese Armed Forces which is providing training in Bihanga Camp, 300 Kilometres from Kampala.  Ireland will continue to contribute to this training team in Bihanga, while Colonel Beary and the three other Irish headquarters personnel will be based in Mission Headquarters in Kampala.  As mission commander, Colonel Beary will be responsible for managing all aspects of the mission and will have a key role in interacting with Uganda as host nation, with the United States, the United Nations, the African Union and AMISOM.  He will also be responsible for briefing the Political and Security Committee in Brussels, the EU Military Committee and Defence and Foreign Ministers at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings.

“This is a very high profile post in an important mission for the EU and for Ireland and is further recognition of the high standing of the Defence Forces internationally in the field of peace support operations. Taking on this post demonstrates Ireland’s strong support for the EU Common Security and Defence Policy and reflects the current Government policy for a positive re-engagement with the Union.  In taking on the role in these difficult economic times, Ireland has received fulsome support from many partners right across the Union and I would like to acknowledge the depth of that support and to thank our EU partners for that”, the Minister said. 


Colonel Michael BEARY


Colonel Beary received his early education at Patrician College, Ballyfin, County Laois and completed a B.Sc Degree in University College, Galway.  He is a graduate of the Smurfit Business School, University College, Dublin and holds a Master of Business Studies in Organisational Studies. Colonel Beary is a graduate of the Irish Defence Forces Command and Staff School and a 2009 graduate of the National War College, Defence University, Washington D.C. from which he holds a Master of Science degree in National Security studies.

Professional Experience 

Home Service: Colonel Beary was appointed an officer of the Infantry Corps in 1975. In the course of his career he has filled a variety of command and staff appointments in the Eastern Brigade, the Defence Forces Training Centre and Defence Forces Headquarters. These appointments included Commanding Officer of the Eastern Brigade Training Centre and key operations, training and intelligence appointments in Defence Forces Headquarters. He has served as a Senior Instructor of the Command and Staff School, Military College and on promotion to the rank of Colonel in March 2009 was appointed Director of Defence Forces Training with responsibility for education and training policy, the development of doctrine and liaison with external education and training agencies.

Overseas Service: Colonel Beary has a wide range of overseas experience. He has served on three deployments in South Lebanon with UNIFIL, including appointments as Company Commander and Staff Officer in UNIFIL HQ Operations Branch.

He has served with the UN in Kuwait and Baghdad as part of the UNIKOM mission, and in Bosnia & Herzegovina with UNPROFOR.

In 2003, he completed a four-month tour of duty in HQ ISAF in Afghanistan. 

In September 2004, he was seconded to the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU, where he served for three years in the EU Military Staff Intelligence Division, providing intelligence planning expertise and assessments for EU military operations and civilian missions.

Press Release Date: Tuesday 26th July, 2011

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