PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris.Twitter/@BBCNewsNI

Police Service of Northern Ireland Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris has been named as the new Garda (Police) commissioner, marking the first time someone from the north of Ireland has been appointed to the position.

Harris’ father was also a senior policeman in the old RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) prior to being blown-up and killed by an IRA car bomb in 1989. His mother was injured in the same bombing.

Since 2014, Harris has been the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Deputy Chief Constable and is an expert in high-risk covert police operations, as well as high-profile and intense incidents. He has been in the police for 35 years and has a degree in politics and economics, along with a Masters degree in Criminology.

He is known to have signed the arrest warrant for Gerry Adams back in 2014 for his alleged connection with the abduction and killing of Jean McConville in December 1972. Harris received considerable criticism from Sinn Féin then because of the decision to arrest their leader in the midst of an election.

He is taking over an Irish police force in turmoil after the last two commissioners stepped aside early. Attempts to blacken the reputation of a whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe led to a tribunal of inquiry.

PSNI chief constable George Hamilton expressed that Harris is a great member of the police force and was “privileged to have him serve as my Deputy Chief Constable for almost four years.”

“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.”

Harris will take the spot as the head of police in the Republic of Ireland by replacing the current Acting Commissioner, Dónall Ó Cualáin, as soon as he retires.

RTÉ reported that Harris plans to emphasize protecting society, the vulnerable, and above all, keeping people safe. He believes that it is a great privilege to have been appointed as Garda Commissioner.

The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, stated that Harris is taking up the job at a time of major institutional reform and investment for An Garda Síochána that will help to redefine the police force.

In response to the decision, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that it was an extensive selection process and that the Irish Government’s priority was to get the best and most qualified person they could find.

Furthermore, Varadkar went on to say that the gardaí would keep control of all intelligence services and is certain Harris, despite his distinct background, would be loyal to the police and the state. Because of his experience in reforming the PSNI, Varadkar believes he is the right choice.

Read More: Man suspended from garda training program over his role in pornographic film as a teen

Read More: Hero Irish police officers save life of newborn baby who "had turned blue"