UN veteran takes command of Southern Brigade

A senior army officer who coordinated security for UN agencies in war-torn Syria has assumed command of the Defence Force’s 1st Southern Brigade.

Brig Gen Derry Fitzgerald, 58, from Co Galway, took the salute from soldiers at Collins Barracks in Cork yesterday morning, before performing his first official function — overseeing the passing out ceremony for the 35 members of the 125th recruit battalion.

Brig Gen Fitzgerald joined the Defence Forces as a cadet in Apr 1972.

He has worked at all levels of the defence forces from platoon commander to infantry battalion commander to director of infantry.

His previous appointments include unit intelligence officer to head of section at Defence Forces headquarters.

Promoted to colonel in 2007, he was appointed director of intelligence in Mar 2009.

He was promoted to Brig General earlier this month and appointed general officer commanding of the 1st Southern Brigade.

Brig Gen Fitzgerald had served two tours of duty in the Lebanon, in 1981 and in 1986.

He returned to the Middle East in 1996 for an 18-month stint where he was the security coordinator for UN agencies in Syria.

He served in East Timor in 1999 and the Balkans in 2001.

He was deputy head of mission in Kosovo and returned again in 2005 as a contingent commander with the Irish Infantry group.

He was deputy force commander of the UN mission in Chad in 2007-2008.

A graduate of the Irish Defence Forces Military College, Brig Gen Fitzgerald also has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from NUI Galway and a Master of Business Administration from the Smurfit Business School, He is the brother of former Irish rugby captain, Ciarán Fitzgerald

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