Tom Clonan

Tom Clonan is a retired Irish Army Captain, author and security analyst.

Tom Clonan
BornFinglas, Dublin, Ireland
Allegiance Ireland
Service/branchBadge of the Irish Defence Forces.svg Army
Years of service1989–2000
RankIE-Army-OF2.png Captain

Military careerEdit

Clonan grew up in Finglas, Dublin and attended St Kevins College in Ballygall at second level. He completed a degree in Education at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1987, before joining the Irish Army as a cadet in 1989.

In 1995, Clonan deployed to South Lebanon as an officer commanding Irish troops under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mission in that country. Clonan's deployment to Lebanon coincided with the Israeli punitive Operation 'Grapes of Wrath' against Hizbullah which culminated in the massacre of refugees at the village of Qana in April 1996. Clonan has spoken about his experiences of conflict and trauma in RTE's documentary 'Peacekeepers' (2016) and in his first book, 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' (Liberties Press, 2012). He was also an OSCE election monitor in Bosnia during the Dayton Agreement in 1996. In this role, Clonan was based in the Serb held town of Prijedor. Back at home, he completed a master's degree in Communications at the Dublin City University (DCU) and joined the Defence Forces Press Office (DFPO) as a press officer.[1]

Research on female personnel in the Defence ForcesEdit

Between 1996 and 2000 Clonan was given formal written sanction – by the Chief of Staff and the Director of Training at Defence Forces Headquarters – to undertake a PhD at DCU as the first equality audit of the Irish military, titled "The Status and Roles Assigned Female Personnel in the Permanent Defence Forces".[2] The findings revealed a catalogue of discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and assault within the Irish Defence Forces against female soldiers and led to an independent government inquiry which resulted in an overhaul in the workplace policies of the DF and the implementation of recommendations arising from the inquiry to protect equality within the Irish armed forces.[3][4] Clonan was the subject of 'Whistleblower Reprisal' (as cited by Transparency International, Ireland) from senior officers for whistleblowing.[5]

He retired from the Defence Forces in 2000.

Academic, media and politicsEdit

Clonan lectures at the Technological University Dublin (TUD) School of Media in the fields of Ethics, Journalism, Political Communication, Public Affairs and Research Methodology.[4]

He has been a security analyst for The Irish Times from the September 11 attacks in 2001 to 2016, reporting and commenting on various world events involving defence, intelligence, terrorism and international relations for various news organisations.[6] He is currently a security analyst and columnist for Irish online news platform, the, (2016 to date).[7]

He is a Fellow of the US-based Armed Forces & Society publication.[3]

Clonan's young son suffers from a rare neuromuscular disease, and as a result Clonan has campaigned on behalf of children and young people in Ireland with disabilities and brought attention to the effects austerity has had on funding for essential services to assist people with disabilities.[4]

Clonan ran for election to the 25th Seanad Éireann in 2016 as a graduate of the University of Dublin, but was unsuccessful in his attempt. Clonan ran again in 2020. He increased his vote but the incumbent senators retained their seats.

He is the author of two best-selling books, Blood, Sweat and Tears (2012) and Whistleblower, soldier, Spy (2013).[8]

In November 2019, Clonan was recognised by the Irish military authorities for his PhD research which helped transform the culture of the Irish Armed Forces with regard to Equality, Diversity and Dignity in the Workplace. Clonan was formally acknowledged and thanked for his exemplary service and contribution to the Defence Forces by the Chief of Staff, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett at the Military College, Curragh Camp in November 2019.[9] This recognition by the Defence Forces of Clonan's contribution to the corporate and cultural development of Ireland's armed forces sends a positive message to other organisations and institutions within Ireland, and internationally, of the intellectual and ethical value of engaging with those who speak truth to power with regard to wrongdoing in the workplace - particularly with regard to sexual violence and gender based violence.[10]


  1. ^ "Tom Clonan: Whistleblower, Soldier, Spy". 27 February 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  2. ^ Clonan, Thomas (August 2000). "Women in Combat:The status and roles assigned female personnel in the Permanent Defence Forces" (PDF). Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Tom Clonan, Guest Speaker". Athenas Ireland. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "About Tom Clonan". Tom Clonan. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  5. ^ Tallant, Nicola (28 November 2013). "Stop hiding behind that f**king handicapped son of yours". Sunday World. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Tom Clonan, Security Analyst". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Launch of Tom Clonan's book Whistleblower, soldier, Spy". Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Retrieved 30 May 2016.
  9. ^ "Whistleblower who exposed rape in Defence Forces thanked 20 years on".
  10. ^ "Tom Clonan: 'My whistleblower journey in the Defence Forces has ended. I am back in from the cold'".