Defence Forces chief of staff treated for serious illness
The chief of staff of the Defence Forces, Lieut General Dermot Earley, is undergoing medical treatment for a serious illness. Gen Earley (62) has been on sick leave since January 11.
The hugely popular GAA star has been a big success since he was appointed to the top military post by the Government in 2007. He is due to retire on his 63rd birthday next February.
His duties are currently being carried out by the deputy chief of staff, Major General Dave Ashe.
In a statement last night, the military said that the best wishes of the Defence Forces were with Gen Earley and his family.
Gen Earley had been feeling unwell since October, although he continued to work and attended a number of functions.
After taking annual leave, he was then advised by doctors to go out on sick leave and has been under the care of the military medical system.
Internally, Gen Earley is highly regarded across all ranks with a reputation for being accessible and approachable, while his military reputation has spread around the world as a result of his impressive track record overseas, including a spell at the United Nations from 1987 to 2001 when he served as the deputy military advisor to the UN secretary general.
He was commissioned as an officer in 1967 and specialised in physical education. He was among the first to successfully complete the course to join the elite anti-terrorist force, the Army Ranger Wing.
He served as deputy chief of staff for three years prior to his appointment to the top position.
A former Roscommon GAA all-star, he is reckoned to be one of the greatest footballers never to win an all-Ireland medal.
After hanging up his boots, he maintained his connections with the GAA and was a former manager of Roscommon and Kildare senior county teams.
His son Dermot is also an Army officer and has won two All-Star awards.