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Government appoints two Deputy Garda Commissioners - including one senior officer from Canada

Dr Shawna Coxon and acting Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon will take up the positions.

File image of the deputy garda commissioner Anne Marie McMahon.
File image of the deputy garda commissioner Anne Marie McMahon.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

THE GOVERNMENT HAS approved the appointment of two Deputy Garda Commissioners – including one senior officer from the Toronto Police Service in Canada.

Dr Shawna Coxon and the current acting Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon were nominated for the roles by the Policing Authority following open competition.

Dr Coxon currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner of the Toronto police. She has over 24 years of experience in policing and has previously led community and neighbourhood policing and served as the deputy chief of the largest command in the Toronto police.

McMahon joined An Garda Síochána in 1986 and is the current acting Deputy Commissioner in charge of strategy, governance and performance.

She has served as the assistant commissioner for the southern region, director of training and development in Templemore and chief superintendent of the garda community relations bureau. 

Current Deputy Commissioner John Twomey will soon retire from his role. Minister McEntee paid tribute to him, saying he “has given outstanding service to the people of Ireland throughout his distinguished 38 year career in An Garda Síochána”. 

Coxon will take over Twomey’s position in charge of policing and security and McMahon will fully take over the role in charge of governance and strategy. 

The chairperson of the Policing Authority Bob Collins said these are “crucial positions” within the service. 

“The appointments come at a time of change, of achievement and of challenge,” Collins said.

“In addition to the qualities and diverse experience that they will bring to their new roles, they will have an opportunity to make a major contribution to the character and quality of the policing service that the Garda Síochána brings to the people of Ireland.”

The Justice Minister Helen McEntee congratulated Coxon and McMahon on their appointments. 

“Both of these officers have solid records of achievement and delivery and bring deep skill, experience and huge personal commitment to policing to these important senior positions,” McEntee said.

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“These roles are crucial to the effective day to day management and strategic direction of An Garda Síochána as well as supporting the Garda Commissioner in leading the implementation of the extensive reform programme ongoing at present.”

The Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said McMahon “brings huge policing experience” and Coxon brings “extensive policing experience from her service in Toronto”. 

McMahon will begin her role from next month and Coxon will take up duty on 19 April. 

The government also approved the nomination of four new members to the Policing Authority, the organisation responsible for overseeing the policing performance of gardaí.

The four nominees are Shalom Binchy, Elaine Byrne, Dónal de Buitléir and Stephen Martin.

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