About Tom Clonan

Senator Tom Clonan has spent all his adult life fighting for equality and dignity for others, from peacekeeping in the Middle East to fighting sexual violence in the Defence Forces to tirelessly advocating, as a carer, for people with disabilities.

In addition to being a journalist, lecturer and former army captain, Senator Clonan is a father of four teenage and adult children. He is a carer for his son Eoghan, who is a third level student. Eoghan has a neuromuscular disease and is a wheelchair user.

Senator Tom ClonanTom’s journey to the Seanad

Tom grew up in Finglas, Dublin, and attended Saint Kevin’s Christian Brothers School in Ballygall.

After finishing his Leaving Cert, Tom had the privilege of an offer of a place in Trinity College, Dublin. He was the first member of his family of seven to go to Trinity. His education at Trinity was an important part of Tom’s intellectual and ethical formation.

In 1987, Tom graduated from Trinity with an Honours Degree in Education and worked as a primary school teacher for two years.

Coming from a family of public service in an Garda Sióchána and the Defence Forces, Tom decided to join the Irish Army in 1989 and served in operational Units in Ireland and the Middle East.


In 1995, Tom was deployed to southern Lebanon as an officer commanding Irish troops under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping mission. Tom’s mission to South Lebanon was a very violent deployment. In 1996, he witnessed at first had the Israeli punitive operation Grapes of Wrath against Hezbollah and the people of South Lebanon.
As a peacekeeper, he witnessed the killing of innocent men, women and children. This experience of conflict informs his support for Irish neutrality and Ireland’s status as an independent, credible, morally authoritative voice for international peace.
Tom-Clonan-Combats-LebTom was also deployed to Bosnia, where he was an OSCE election supervisor during the implementation of the 1996 Dayton Peace Agreement.

After returning home to Ireland, Clonan completed a PhD at DCU. This was the first equality audit of the Irish military, titled “The Status and Roles Assigned to Female Personnel in the Permanent Defence Forces”.
The findings revealed a catalogue of discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and assault within the Irish Defence Forces against female soldiers. At Clonan’s behest, his PhD led to an Independent Government Enquiry, 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 Defence Forces.

From 2000 to 2016, Clonan was the Irish Times Security Analyst. He has written and broadcast on security, defence and terrorism for over two decades.Tom-Debating-Standing

In 2016, he became a columnist and security analyst for the Journal.ie – Ireland’s largest online news platform. For this journal he is currently writing analyses about the war in Ukraine.Tom-Clonan-Respected-International-CommentatorStarting in 2000, Tom began lecturing at the Technological University Dublin School of Media. He has lectured and published in the fields of Ethics, Journalism, Political Communication, Public Affairs and Research Methodology. Until, in March 2022, he was elected to Seanad Éireann.


Tom Debating Mansion House Standing

In March 2022, Tom was elected as an Independent Senator for the Trinity College Dublin Panel.

Tom Clonan and David Norris