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Appointment of Commissioner Harris as Commissioner of An Garda Síochána (3/9/18)

I am incredibly proud and honoured to take the oath of office and be appointed Commissioner of An Garda Síochána today.

Firstly, I would like at this time to pay tribute to Donal Ó Cualáin who is retiring from An Garda Síochána after 35 years of dedicated service. As Acting Commissioner, Donal’s wise and ethical leadership was central to steering the organisation through a difficult period. I wish Donal and his family all the best in a long, healthy and happy retirement.

Throughout its history An Garda Síochána has played an important role in Ireland. Its focus on community policing has created strong bonds with the people. This connection has been vital in preventing and tackling crime, and, as a result, in protecting and supporting communities. It is critical that this policing ethos of protecting our fellow citizens is maintained and enhanced. I will be particularly focused on ensuring that we do all we can to protect the vulnerable.

I know at first hand the commitment, dedication and sacrifice that has been made by members of An Garda Síochána in securing the State, particularly from the threat of terrorism. This has saved lives and protected communities on both sides of the border. That work must and will continue to be a priority for the organisation and me as Commissioner.

We need to move quickly to adapt to a changing society to ensure that we are strongly positioned to protect the State, communities and the vulnerable. This is clear from the numerous reports into the organisation, the views of the public as expressed through the Garda Public Attitudes Survey, and from the views expressed internally through the Cultural Audit and staff representative bodies.

To do this we will make use of our resources to best effect. We will deliver to the highest possible operational and ethical standards. We will improve our systems, processes and training so you have the right tools and skills to do your job effectively. We will have a workplace of openness and transparency, of equality of opportunity, and of management at all levels speaking with and listening to the people they work with. We will be more open to concerns raised internally and externally.

I envisage an An Garda Síochána that is responsive, accountable and fit for purpose in a modern and progressive Ireland with its primary purpose being the safety and security of our citizens.

I will also be looking for your views on what we are doing well and what do we need to improve on. One of the things I will be focusing on in the first couple of months is going out to stations and offices around the country to listen to you on what practical measures would help you to deliver the best possible service.

Every day the men and women of An Garda Síochána across all ranks and grades make a positive contribution to their community. An Garda Síochána has a proud tradition of public service that has kept this State safe. The organisation has many excellent attributes that must be kept and built on.

Most critically, people in An Garda Síochána are fully committed to ensuring the organisation develops to meet the needs of society. This is a strong foundation from which to build on.

I very much look forward to working with you all to provide this country with the high quality policing and security service it wants and deserves.

Drew Harris