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Promotion of Colonel Brian Cleary to Commander, Joint Task Force

06th Apr 2020

Brigadier General Brian Cleary was appointed as Commander - Joint Task Force (JTF)

Brigadier General Brian Cleary was appointed as Commander - Joint Task Force (JTF) following its establishment on the 19th Mar 2020 in response to Ireland's COVID-19 threat.

A native of Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Brigadier General Cleary joined the Permanent Defence Forces in 1981 as a member of the 58th Cadet Class and was commissioned as an Officer into the Artillery Corps in 1983.

Military Experience

Brigadier General Cleary has held a wide variety of roles and appointments in the Artillery Corps, DF Public Relations, DF Special Operations, DF Military College and DFHQ Operations Division.

Overseas Experience

He has extensive overseas service with the United Nations, EU and NATO deploying to Lebanon, Western Sahara, East Timor, Cote D’Ivoire, Chad, and Afghanistan.


Brigadier General Cleary holds a Masters Degree in Organisational Behaviour (MSc OB) from Trinity College , Dublin and a Masters Degree in Leadership, Management & Defence Studies from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.


Brigadier General Cleary is married married to Martina and they have four children. His interests include reading, sports, outdoor pursuits, triathlon and choral singing.



In simple terms, a Joint Task Force (JTF) is a military grouping which either already exists as part of a military force or, as in the case of the Defence Forces, is formed for a specific purpose, for a limited time period. The ‘Joint’ aspect of the Task Force refers to its composition. It is military terminology for complementary forces from the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps, which are grouped together in joint operations, under a single command structure. We have named this military response Operation ‘FORTITUDE’.

In the case of COVID-19, the JTF provides, within means and capabilities, Aid to the Civil Authorities (ATCA) support to government departments and agencies (with priority to the Dept of Health and HSE), by providing personnel and equipment to a range of requests for support.

Brigadier General Brian Cleary has been appointed by government as the Commander of the JTF. Any Army, Air Corps and Naval Service components, combined for the purpose of conducting operations, are placed under command to General Cleary for the duration of their contribution to this Public Health emergency.


The JTF headquarters (HQ) is located in McKee Barracks, Blackhorse Ave, Dublin 7, with a staff of circa 40 military personnel. It was established on 19th March 2020 and became fully operational on 26th March. The JTF HQ has been responding to all COVID-19 tasks from the HSE and is preparing contingency plans for anticipated requests from the Principal Response Agencies (PRAs) and the civil authorities into the future.
Additionally, the JTF has an ‘inter-agency’ capacity and, if requested can host Government and other agencies and authorities, in McKee Barracks.

Meet the COM-JTF

Press Release Date: 06th Apr 2020

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. James O'Hara

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile: 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer