Kildare man appointed Deputy CEO of Irish Defence Forces charity

By Ken Phelan / Liffey Champion

A Kildare man has recently been appointed as the first Deputy CEO with Irish Defence Forces veterans’ charity, ONE.

Born and raised in the Curragh, Michael Smyth served for 34 years with the Irish Defence Forces, during which time he undertook three peacekeeping tours in Lebanon, as well as tours of duty to Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. 

He also worked with an NGO Network in Afghanistan, focusing on providing services and improving the lives of Afghan people. He retired from the Defence Forces in 2022.

In his new role, Michael will work alongside ONE’s CEO Cormac Kirwan – former Operations Manager for Kildare GAA – and will assist in steering the charity’s daily operations, while continuing to provide professional support services, strengthen the wider veteran community, and drive forward ONE’s vision of making Ireland one of the best places to be a veteran.

Michael comes from a family steeped in military life. His father and grandfather before him were members of the Defence Forces, while his wife, brothers and extended family have also served, with some continuing to do so.


Surrounded by a vibrant veteran community in Kildare and having supported veterans in Dublin during his tenure in the 7th Infantry Battalion, Michael is relishing the challenges and demands his new role brings, and is eager to assist the great work being carried out by ONE all across the country.

Michael will work alongside the team to help and advocate for veterans of all ages and backgrounds as they face the difficult challenge of transitioning to civilian life.

ONE – Oglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (or the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel) – is a registered Irish charity offering housing and support for Defence Forces’ veterans, with the ultimate goal of accessing permanent accommodation, improving mental health, and preventing future homelessness.

ONE’s services are available to all veterans of the Defence Forces, while also facilitating homeless veterans from other countries living in Ireland, from time to time.

ONE currently provides accommodation (board and lodging) in its four residential homes in Athlone, Cobh, Dublin, and Letterkenny. A fifth home is currently being developed in Cork City and there are plans for further homes in Limerick, Kildare, Galway and Louth to address the increasing challenge of homelessness among veterans.

With a nationwide network of 38 Branches and 15 Veteran Support Centres ONE continues to develop its professional Veteran Mental Health Support Services, all in support of struggling veterans of the Defence Forces.

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