Michael Martin was born in Dublin in 1958 and although late to academic third level education, had another professional career spanning 23 years service in the Irish Navy and self employment since retirement in 1997. He is the author of 3 books on different historical topics and the very popular souvenir booklet “Titanic Trail (Cobh Queenstown).
Having joined the Naval Service in 1975 he rose through the ranks to become the youngest ever person in Ireland’s Navy to be promoted into the rank of Warrant Officer at the age of 29 in 1987. His service included deployment ashore and afloat and also a voluntary peacekeeping tour of duty as a member of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. In 1989 Michael Martin played a leading role in the efforts to attain the right of association for serving members of Ireland’s Army, Navy and Air Corps. During the lengthy negotiations that eventually followed with representatives of the government, he was the lead negotiator and strategist.
When legislation and regulations were finally enacted he was the first in the history of the Irish State to be elected to the position of General Secretary of the newly formed statutory representative body for members of the Irish armed forces. In the course of this career meetings would have taken place at the highest level of Government. His book, published in October 2016 entitled ‘Breaking Ranks, the shaping of civil-military relations in Ireland’ details the emergence of these representative bodies.
Having retired from the Navy Michael Martin set up and still operates a historical guided walking tour of the town of Cobh and in this regard has had visitors from over 85 countries on his walk. He received the Cobh Mayors award in 2005 for his work for the town and was made an honorary citizen of Baltimore USA by the Mayor there in 2003. In 2004 he went back to full time education in University College Cork and University of California at Berkeley completing his PhD on Irish Civil Military Relations in 2010.