MILITARY AIMING HIGHER - Irish Defence Forces Graduation at Institute of Technology Carlow


Over 180 members of the Irish Defence Forces were today conferred at Institute of Technology Carlow in what has become the largest annual military graduation from a higher education institute in the State.

Amongst the graduates were 22 officers who were awarded Masters of Engineering in Weapons Systems, Ordnance, Munitions and Explosives Engineering, Masters of Science in Communications Technology Management and Masters of Science in Military Engineering Management. Today’s occasion marked the fifth such annual ceremony for Defence Forces personnel and the growing number of postgraduate higher degree awards highlights the ongoing evolution of the partnership between the Defence Forces and Institute of Technology Carlow into new areas such as research and development.

The ceremony also saw 160 NCOs receive Bachelor of Arts, Certificates and Higher Certificates in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies (LMDS) through an academic collaboration between Institute of Technology Carlow and the Irish Defence Forces. The initiative allows members of the Defence Forces to achieve formal higher education qualifications through career advancement training and embedded work-based learning.

Due to the nature of their military service, 25 of the graduates were conferred in absentia as they are currently serving overseas in Lebanon, Mali and The Golan Heights.

President of Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, who hosted today’s ceremony said, “We are here today because of the vision and leadership within Government and the Defence Forces. We are here today because of the Defence Forces commitment to lifelong learning, to a knowledge institution for the State, and to the pursuit of excellence and formal accreditation of enlisted personnel education and training at all stages of the Military Career. This has seen almost 1,000 Defence Forces personnel graduate from Institute of Technology Carlow since our collaboration commenced. What we have accomplished together is something of which we are all deeply proud. It has become an example of best practice, nationally and internationally. My warmest congratulations to all our new graduates from the Defence Forces”.

Minister with Special Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD attended the ceremony and presented prizes for academic excellence to four Defence Force personnel. Four special awards were bestowed for Defence Forces Student of the Year at Level 6, 7, and 9. The recipients were: Corporal Shane O’Doherty, Dublin; Corporal Brendan Regan, Monaghan; Sergeant John McCoombe, Kildare and Captain Daithí O’Flynn, Cork.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Kehoe said, “I am delighted to attend this, the fifth graduation of students from the Leadership, Management and Defence Studies programmes. I also welcome the graduation of officers of the Engineer, Ordnance and Communication and Information Services Corps with Masters degrees supporting their vital work in key areas. While Education and Training are very important in all walks of life, it is vital in the Defence Forces. The challenges faced today by military forces in peace support, crisis management and security operations require capacity across the full spectrum of conflict. The standard of work completed by the Defence Forces students and graduates has again been of an exceptionally high level. That success relies also on the learning and professional environment created by the staff and management in Institute of Technology Carlow.”

Other distinguished guests at the ceremony were: Secretary General of the Department of Defence, Mr. Maurice Quinn; Defence Forces Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) Major General Kieran Brennan; General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces Training Centre, Brigadier General Joe Mulligan; Mr. John Moore, Chairman of the Governing Body of Institute of Technology; Members of the Institute Governing Body and Academic Council.

Speaking after the ceremony, Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) Major General Kieran Brennan commented, " Todays conferring ceremony formally recognises the value the Defence Forces place on education, training and professional development. I thank Institute of Technology Carlow for its continuing collaborative work with us as an organisation. I congratulate all the graduates and wish them well in their future careers."

Further Defence Forces personnel from the Communications and Information Services Corps will receive degrees in Electronic Engineering – Military Communications Systems this Saturday when Institute of Technology Carlow’s Faculty of Engineering hosts its conferring ceremony. At this ceremony, Private Gary Sutton will be awarded the Engineers Ireland South East Region Student of the Year for academic excellence.

Since its founding in 1970, Institute of Technology Carlow has generated over 50,000 graduates. It currently ranks as the 4th largest of Ireland’s 14 Institutes of Technology with more than 7,500 enrolments and employs 800 staff. Institute of Technology Carlow provides higher educational programmes and research and enterprise development opportunities through its centres in Carlow, Wexford, and Wicklow. The Institute offers more than 80 taught programmes to Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), and boasts the second-highest percentage of postgraduates in the IoT sector. Institute of Technology Carlow has the highest percentage of Lifelong Learners in the sector, which reflects the commitment to providing educational opportunities for all. The ongoing partnership with the Defence Forces is a key part of this initiative.