PSNI's Drew Harris appointed as new Garda Commissioner

He will take up the role for five years

PSNI's Drew Harris appointed as new Garda Commissioner

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 12.50

A new Garda Commissioner has been appointed, the Justice Minister has confirmed.

The Government has agreed to appoint Drew Harris to the post for five years.

Mr Harris is currently Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI, and will take up his new role in September.

The appointment comes following an 'international selection process' by the Public Appointments Service, on behalf of the Policing Authority.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “I am confident that Drew Harris has the necessary ability and vital policing, security and change management experience required.

"He will bring these talents to his leadership of An Garda Síochána - one of our most important institutions of state - along with a commitment to serving the public in the best tradition of the gardaí."

He added: "Drew can be assured of my support and that of the Government as he faces the challenge of transforming An Garda Síochána so that it becomes a model of policing excellence, equipped to deal with the huge range of challenges facing police services worldwide.”

"Strength, humility and grace"

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton congratulated Mr Harris on the appointment.

In a statement, he said: “While there is no doubt that the Police Service of Northern Ireland will be a poorer place without his contribution; he will remain a colleague when he takes over the leadership of An Garda Síochána.

"He is a man of unfathomable strength, humility and grace and I have been privileged to have him serve as my Deputy Chief Constable for almost four years."

Dónall Ó Cualáin has been serving as the Acting Garda Commissioner since Noirín O'Sullivan announced her retirement last September.

The new commissioner will be paid a salary of €250,000.

Mr Harris has been a police officer since 1983, and has received an OBE from Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

His father Alwyn, who was a Superintendent in the RUC, was killed by an IRA bomb in the 1980s.

The new Garda chief has a degree in politics and economics, as well as a masters in criminology.

Additional reporting by Sean Defoe