Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) with Honour awarded to Major General Michael Beary

Paul Kehoe, T.D., Minister with responsibility for Defence, today awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with Honour to Major General Michael Beary.   Addressing attendees at the ceremony in Cathal Brugha Barracks, the Minister thanked Major General Beary on behalf of the Irish Government for his valuable contribution to United Nations missions and to the Irish Defence Forces. 

Minister Kehoe said “.. this award is for distinguished service characterised by outstanding qualities of leadership, diplomacy and devotion to duty.   These qualities have been best demonstrated by you in your role as Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and as Force Commander in the European Union Training Mission in Somalia.”

Minister Kehoe went on to say “Your distinguished service, in these appointments, has made a significant contribution to regional stability and world peace and enhanced the reputation of Ireland and its Defence Forces.

The Minister also thanked Major General Beary’s wife and family for their support and noted that “service does not come without sacrifice.  That sacrifice falls most heavily on the family”.

The United Nations  paid tribute to Major General Beary during the ceremony.   A message from Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping, Jean Pierre Lacroix, was read out by Minister Kehoe.  It stated The United Nations and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations were privileged to have Major General Michael Beary at the leadership of UNIFIL.  His exemplary dedication and integrity during his tenure as the Head of Mission and Force Commander were integral to the achievements accomplished by the Mission. His strong leadership, commitment to core peacekeeping values and principles and pro-active approach enabled UNIFIL to carry out its important mandate during a particularly challenging period.... ” 

The United Nations conveyed its gratitude to Major General Beary, the Government of Ireland and the Irish Defence Forces  fortheir unwavering commitment and support to United Nations peacekeeping.”



Notes for Editors


Major General Beary has had a long and distinguished career since he joined the Irish Defence Forces in 1973.  He has spent a total of 12 years in overseas deployments in various countries, including Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.    

Major General Beary has the distinction of being Force Commander of two international peacekeeping operations.  From August 2011 to February 2013 he commanded the EU Training Mission in Somalia.  From July 2016 to August 2018 he served as Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNIFIL.  Prior to his appointment to UNIFIL, he held the post of General Officer Commanding 2 Brigade.  

The Distinguished Service Medal was introduced by the Defence Forces in February 1964. It may be awarded in recognition of individual or associated acts of bravery, courage, leadership, resource or devotion to duty. 



Minister Kehoe with Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett and Major General Michael Beary
Minister Kehoe with Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett Major General Michael Beary his wife Maureen and son Lt Howard Beary