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The Garda Commissioner (Irish: Coimisinéir an Gharda Síochána) – officially known as the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána – is the head of the Garda Síochána, the national police force of the Republic of Ireland. The Garda Commissioner is appointed by the Government of Ireland (Cabinet), on the recommendation of the Minister for Justice and Equality. The Commissioner reports to the Minister for Justice and Equality, in charge of the Department of Justice and Equality, of which the Garda Síochána is a state agency. The Garda Commissioner sits on the Irish Government's National Security Committee (NSC), and is responsible for the Republic of Ireland's domestic state security apparatus.[2]

Garda Commissioner
Drew Harris (cropped).jpg
Drew Harris

since 3 September 2018
Member ofNational Security Committee
Reports toMinister for Justice and Equality
NominatorMinister for Justice and Equality
AppointerGovernment of Ireland
Term length5 years
Inaugural holderMichael Staines
FormationFebruary 1922
DeputyDeputy Commissioner Operations

The current Garda Commissioner is Drew Harris, former Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI, who took office on 3 September 2018.[1]


The Garda Síochána will succeed not by force of arms or numbers, but on their moral authority as servants of the people.

— Inaugural Garda Commissioner Michael Staines, 1922[3]

Michael Staines became the first Garda Commissioner in February 1922, when the force was founded as the Civic Guard.[4]

Traditionally, the Commissioner is the highest ranking police officer in the state, however the selection process for the position is now open to candidates from outside the force, outside a law enforcement agency and outside of the Republic of Ireland.[5]

Nóirín O'Sullivan made history in becoming the first woman to lead the force when she was appointed in November 2014, having already served as the acting Garda Commissioner since March 2014.[6]

Office of the Garda CommissionerEdit

The Garda Commissioner sits at Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 and is supported by a senior management team consisting of two Deputy Commissioners, a Chief Administrative Officer and twelve Assistant Commissioners;[7]

  • Deputy Commissioner Policing & Security
  • Deputy Commissioner Governance & Strategy
  • Chief Administrative Officer
  • Head of Legal Affairs
  • Assistant Commissioner Crime and Security
  • Assistant Commissioner National Support Services (NSS)
  • Assistant Commissioner Traffic
  • Assistant Commissioner Organisation Development and Strategic Planning
  • Assistant Commissioner Human Resource Management (HRM)
  • Assistant Commissioner Operational Resource Allocation, Employee Development and Professional Standards
  • Assistant Commissioner Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR)
  • Assistant Commissioner Eastern Region
  • Assistant Commissioner Northern Region
  • Assistant Commissioner Southern Region
  • Assistant Commissioner South-Eastern Region
  • Assistant Commissioner Western Region[8]
  • Executive Director of Finance and Services
  • Executive Director Human Resources and People Development
  • Executive Director ICT
  • Director of Communications
  • Garda Chief Medical Officer

List of Garda CommissionersEdit

Name Term of office Reason
Michael Staines February 1922 September 1922 resigned following Civic Guard Mutiny
Patrick Brennan May 1922 September 1922 (unofficial – elected by mutineers during Civic Guard Mutiny)
Eoin O'Duffy September 1922 February 1933 dismissed for encouraging a military coup
Eamon Broy February 1933 June 1938 retired
Michael Kinnane June 1938 July 1952 died
Daniel Costigan July 1952 February 1965 resigned
William P. Quinn February 1965 March 1967 retired
Patrick Carroll March 1967 September 1968 retired
Michael Wymes September 1968 January 1973 retired
Patrick Malone January 1973 September 1975 retired
Edmund Garvey September 1975 January 1978 replaced (lost government confidence)
Patrick McLaughlin January 1978 January 1983 retired (wiretap scandal)
Lawrence Wren February 1983 November 1987 retired
Eamonn Doherty November 1987 December 1988 retired
Eugene Crowley December 1988 January 1991 retired
Patrick Culligan January 1991 July 1996 retired
Patrick Byrne July 1996 July 2003 retired
Noel Conroy July 2003 November 2007 retired
Fachtna Murphy November 2007 December 2010 retired
Martin Callinan December 2010 March 2014 resigned (penalty points & GSOC bugging scandal)
Nóirín O'Sullivan March 2014 (acting)
November 2014 (permanent)[9]
September 2017 retired (whistleblower scandal & breath test scandal)
Dónall Ó Cualáin September 2017 (acting) September 2018 Acting Commissionor.
Drew Harris September 2018 Incumbent

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "PSNI officer Drew Harris named as new Garda Commissioner". RTÉ News. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ Cusack, Jim (10 August 2014). "Employing non-Irish Commissioner is 'madness' say senior gardai". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Member States / Ireland". Europol. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  4. ^ O'Donnell, Ian (14 November 2014). "Urgent action needed to restore force's moral authority". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Commencement of open recruitment process for post of Garda Commissioner". Dept of Justice and Equality. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Garda has first female commissioner". Irish Independent. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Senior Management Structure" (PDF). Report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Garda organigram" (PDF). An Garda Síochána. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ "Nóirín O'Sullivan is the new Garda Commissioner". Journal. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.