The President Michael D.Higgins on the recommendation of Government, on 7 November 2012, appointed Mr. Patrick Anthony (Tony) McCourt as the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces. The Ombudsman was selected following an open competition run by the Public Appointments Service.

Mr. McCourt was called to the Bar in 1980 and has been working as a practicing barrister in the Law Library since his retirement from the Defence Forces in 2010. Mr. McCourt joined the Defence Forces in 1963 as a cadet. Following a full and varied career he took up the position of Judge Advocate for the Defence Forces in 2001. He remained in this position until his appointment as Military Judge for the Defence Forces in 2007 where he presided over all Courts Martial until his retirement in 2010.

Mr. McCourt holds an MA in International Relations awarded by DCU and a Diploma in European Law from UCD. He is an accredited mediator with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution of London since 2011.