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Hero Vickers named ambassador to Ireland

Jessica Hume. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

By Jessica Hume, National Bureau

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014. Vickers was being thanked for shooting the suspect during a shooting incident Thursday after a gunman killed a soldier and rampaged through parliament before being shot dead. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014. Vickers was being thanked for shooting the suspect during a shooting incident Thursday after a gunman killed a soldier and rampaged through parliament before being shot dead. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

OTTAWA - 

House of Commons hero and sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers has been named Canada's new ambassador to Ireland.

He'll start his new job Jan. 19.

Vickers is credited with firing the shot that killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the shooter who stormed the Parliament buildings last October after killing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.

Returning to the House after the attack, Vickers received a standing ovation that lasted several minutes.

Though he has been quiet about his role in the Ottawa attack, Vickers' niece told media that was the only time in his career he shot anyone.

Vickers worked as an RCMP officer for 29 years before retiring in 2005. He took the post of sergeant-at-arms in 2006.

"As a Canadian with family on both sides hailing from Ireland, there could be no greater honour," he said in a statement Thursday. "I am also saddened to be leaving my colleagues and friends on Parliament Hill. It has been an honour to serve as sergeant-at-arms and to work with such dedicated individuals serving both Houses of Parliament. I will cherish the time I have spent here.

"You have my word that I will do my best to represent you in Ireland with pride and dignity."

In announcing the appointment, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised Vickers' leadership and dedication as sergeant-at-arms.

"Kevin Vickers has shown profound leadership and dedication to the security of Canada and its national institutions .. His extensive experience working with Parliament, as well as his bravery and integrity, will serve to deepen close bilateral relations between Canada and Ireland in the years ahead."

Several other politicians issued statements or took to social media to express their congratulations.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said he would miss Vickers' presence in Ottawa.

"For the last eight years, Mr. Vickers has been a strong and reassuring presence in the House," Dewar said. "I know he will continue to represent Canada with poise and honour as a diplomat."

Michael Hurley, deputy head of the Irish mission in Canada, said the mission was "delighted" by the appointment and said Vickers was a known friend of the Irish-Canadian community.

"He will be working to promote strong Canadian-Irish relations, which are already strong," he said.

House Speaker Andrew Scheer said: "Kevin Vickers has built a remarkable security team that does us proud each and every day."

Vickers takes over from Loyola Hearn, a former Conservative cabinet minister.

 


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