Senior PSNI officer appointed new Garda Commissioner

A senior PSNI officer has been appointed as the new Garda Commissioner.

Drew Harris will take up the Garda top job in September.

Drew Harris has more than 30 years of policing experience in the RUC and the PSNI and will become the first outsider to lead An Garda Siochana.

Mr Harris is in his early 50s and is married with four children.

His father, 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.

He's been involved in the senior leadership of the PSNI for 12 years and has been Deputy Chief Constable since 2014.

He's also studied with the FBI and completed courses in strategic command and international counter-terrorism.

Drew Harris has been appointed on a five year term at an increased salary of 250,000 euro - one that was raised to attract a higher class of candidate.

He'll take up the job in September almost a year on from when former Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan retired.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said he'll take over the job at a time which will re-define An Garda Siochana.

In a statement issued by the PSNI's Chief Constable George Hamilton, he said:

“I am delighted that Drew Harris will be the next Garda Commissioner.

“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.

“This appointment can only serve to build on what is already a close working relationship between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána. The mutual desire of both organisations to keep people safe will support us in overcoming the many challenges we jointly face, including Brexit.

“In his 34 years as a police officer in both the RUCGC and the PSNI, Drew Harris has been driven by a commitment to protect the most vulnerable in our community. I have no doubt that this will continue to be his ambition as Garda Commissioner. 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.

“I wish him every success and look forward to working with him as Commissioner.”