PSNI chief Drew Harris appointed Ireland's first non-national Garda Commissioner - 30 years after IRA killed his dad
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PSNI chief Drew Harris appointed Ireland's first non-national Garda Commissioner - 30 years after IRA killed his dad

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris has been appointed Garda Commissioner, the first person from outside the Republic to hold the position in An Garda Síochána's 96-year history.

The Northern Irishman replaces Nóirín O'Sullivan who resigned from the post in September 2017 following the highly publicised controversy over her handling of whistle-blowers.

It's understood that high-ranking Gardaí were keen to appoint someone from outside the force as it requires widespread reform to regain public trust.

Mr Harris, who is in his early 50s, comes with some 35 years of experience in policing with the RUC and PSNI.

The married dad-of-four has a a degree in politics and economics and a masters in criminology.

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His father, RUC Superintendent Alwyn Harris, was killed by the IRA in 1989 when a Semtex bomb exploded under his car as he drove to church with his wife, who survived the blast.

Mr Harris was appointed as the PSNI's Deputy Chief Constable in October 2014.

His salary as Garda Commisioner will stand at €250,000 (£220,000) a year - which was previously increased from €180,000 to attract interest in the position.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he was pleased that the "rigorous selection process" had come to a successful conclusion after 10 months of uncertainty.

"Drew takes up office at a time of major reform and investment which will redefine An Garda Síochána as an organisation," he said.

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"As we approach the centenary of the establishment of An Garda Síochána, the organisation is on the cusp of significant change."