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Tom Clonan Bio

Originally from Finglas, I had the privilege of studying in Trinity College Dublin, from 1984 – 1989.  My time in Trinity had a powerful impact on my intellectual and ethical formation.

In 1989 I joined the Defence Forces.  I served in a variety of roles in Ireland during the Troubles and witnessed at first hand the impact of terrorism and sectarian hatred on this island.

I was proud to represent Ireland internationally as a UN Peacekeeper in Lebanon.  I experienced a very violent deployment to the Middle East and witnessed the punitive Israeli ‘Operation Grapes of Wrath’ unleashed against the innocent men, women and children of south Lebanon in 1996.  Hundreds of civilians were massacred in this offensive.  As Irish soldiers, we could not stop all of the killing.  However, by acting as human shields, we helped to end the slaughter of the innocents.

These experiences had a profound affect on me and inform my understanding of the value and power of Irish peace and neutrality.  As Europe and the world become more de-stabilised and as we approach the inevitability of major – seismic - change on this island, it is vital that we have an Independent University Senator with an intimate, first-hand knowledge of conflict, reconciliation and peace-building. 

From 1996 to 2000 I completed a PhD as a serving Captain in the Defence Forces.  My doctoral thesis revealed systemic gender based violence within our armed forces, with shockingly high levels of sexual assault and rape of female personnel.   Despite a campaign of vicious whistleblower reprisal from the military authorities, my work was fully vindicated by an independent government enquiry in 2003 – and further vindicated by the disclosures of the Women of Honour in September 2021.  I have fought against Gender Based violence for the last 25 years and am now an expert member of the HEA Advisory Group on Ending Sexual Violence and Harassment in Higher Education.  In this capacity and as a member of the TU Dublin Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment, I continue to help educate – and eradicate – gender based violence throughout Ireland’s third level campuses.

I have four teenage and adult children.  One of my sons, Eoghan, has a rare neuromuscular disease. For over 20 years, as parent and carer, I have campaigned for a radical, rights based approach to disability.  In 2021, I succeeded in having a discriminatory HEA policy reversed and succeeded in securing full supports and full access for all students with disabilities to all third level institutions in Ireland – irrespective of their status.  In 2022 I was appointed by government to the Disability Stakeholders Group responsible for overseeing the implementation of Ireland’s National Disability Inclusion Strategy and ensuring the Human Rights of Irish Citizens guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

I am not a member of any political party and am a completely Independent Candidate for the TCD University Panel.  I have a proven track record of achievement and positive impact in the areas of Gender Based Violence, Disability Rights, Health and Access to Education.  It is vital that our Trinity University Senators be 100% Independent to hold government to account.  Please Vote Tom CLONAN No.1