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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

From midnight on Monday, the Gardaí will have a new Commissioner

Dónall Ó Cualáin has held the role since former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan retired last year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with the Drew Harris.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with the Drew Harris.
Image: Leah Farrell via

DREW HARRIS IS to officially become An Garda Síochána’s new Commissioner from midnight on Monday, 3 September. 

Dónall Ó Cualáin will step down as Acting Garda Commissioner at 00.01am on that day. He’s held the role since Nóirín O’Sullivan announced her retirement in September 2017.

In line with the Garda Síochána Act, Drew Harris will be attested as Garda Commissioner just after that and immediately take up his new role.

The private attestation will take place at the newly-refurbished “state-of-the-art” Kevin Street headquarters.

Commissioner Harris will be attested by a Peace Commissioner and will sign the Garda Code of Ethics and the Official Secrets Act. 


Drew Harris previously held the role of Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). A number of concerns were raised about Harris taking the role from a security perspective – last week a High Court judge dismissed a challenge aimed at blocking Harris from taking up the role.

The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the general direction and control of An Garda Síochána, and reports to the Minister for Justice.

To fill the role, Minister Charlie Flanagan had to consult with the chair of the Policing Authority about a process to identify and appoint a permanent successor to O’Sullivan.

Harris will be taking over a police force which has been constantly criticised as in dire need of reform. False breath test figures, missing homicide numbers, issues with finances at the Templemore training college, and the pending outcome of the Disclosures Tribunal are among the issues he will have to grapple with.

- with reporting from Aoife Barry

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