Tom Tooher, Lieutenant  - Army
Security, Defence & Law Enforcement

Tom Tooher, Lieutenant - Army

Tom is a Lieutenant in the 2nd Cavalry Squadron, based in Dublin. He completed a Masters degree in Agricultural science, went on to work in environmental engineering for 2 years and then enlisted in the Army as a Cadet.

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What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?

Firstly, the thought process I went through in choosing my Leaving Certificate subjects was naturally going to have a huge effect on my career. As a result I put a lot of time and consideration into that area.

Based on my results I decided to pursue a 3rd level course finishing with a Masters in Agriculture in UCD. I pursued a career in the environmental industry before finally joining the Defence Forces.

Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Teachers, college lecturers and most importantly my parents. They valued a 3rd level education as a basis to develop a good career.

How did you go about getting your current job?

I heard about the cadetship after attending a talk with an Army Officer at a careers evening in UCD. I enlisted and completed my training.

After being commissioned as an army officer I was posted to my unit which is based in Dublin. I had to do two interviews, a fitness test and a full medical. I was notified via post and phone.

Describe a typical day?

There is no typical day. For example one day I could be involved in training soldiers, another in unit administration, another I could even be deployed overseas.

I am mainly employed in a leadership/management role with responsibilities for unit training, career development and operations. There is constant pressure being placed in a leadership role but that's just part of the job. The rewards are good, good opportunities to travel and to be promoted.

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

My main tasks are unit training and operational tasks such as aid to the gardai etc. I am currently employed as a troop commander responsible for the soldiers under my command and the armoured vehicles we work with.

What are the main challenges?

The constant striving to achieve perfection in all tasks I complete. Working under time constraints and strict deadlines in a disciplined environment. Your interpersonal skills and communication ability must be excellent.

What's cool?

Being responsible for modern equipment like weapon systems, armoured vehicles and night vision equipment. Travelling overseas to see different cultures. Getting to operate and fire sophisticated weapons systems. Meeting and working with new people everyday.

What's not so cool?

The unsociable hours when on tactical operations.

What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

My leadership skills, management skills, interpersonal skills, instructional ability, ability to work under pressure and time constraints. My resilience, my decision making and problem solving abilities.

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

History, especially military history, hugely affected my career path. Although my Masters Degree in agriculture isn't exactly linked to my career.

What is your education to date?

  • Leaving Cert.
  • Bsc Ag - UCD
  • Msc Ag ERM - UCD
  • BA Leadership Management & Defence Studies. (Awarded on completion of Cadetship)

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Being an Army Officer is not directly linked to your educational qualifications. It's more of a personal motivation to strive to be a good leader and to be the best you can be.

What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Serving as a Troop Commander with my soldiers in Lebanon with the United Nations peace keeping force.

What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?

Young, fit, enthusiastic, hard working, diligent, good communicator, good planner and organiser.

What is your dream job?

I have it unless Jeremy Clarkson offers me a job on Top Gear!!!

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

My career is often very flexible so you can have a good lifestyle, but sometimes you have to work long unsociable hours. However, working with the Defence Forces is a very satisfying career choice

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Look up the Defence Forces website at and talk to serving personnel. If its possible try to visit a barracks.

What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?

Its very hard to pick just three but if I had to it would be:

  • To be a good communicator,
  • Have personal motivation
  • To have resilience.

What is your favourite music?

House Music

What is your favourite film?

The Searchers with John Wayne

What is your pet hate at work?

When they dont' have scones at coffee break just plain biscuits!!!

What is your star sign?


Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

In the Defence Forces you are constantly furthering your career by undertaking military and educational courses.

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

Join the Army Reserve to see if you like it first.

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