The new Garda Commissioner has said An Garda Síochána was a well-resourced police service and he intended to find out where the money was being spent, if it was being spent correctly, and if the force's resources were being used in the best way possible.

Drew Harris said he wanted to ensure that the force's €1.4bn of public money was being used properly to deliver the best possible police service.

Mr Harris, former deputy chief constable of the PSNI, took up the role yesterday.

He said it was too early to say if he needed more resources, but as regards "standing up to politicians", he said he would "speak truth to power."

Mr Harris also said that he wanted to maximise the number of front line officers in the force, saying the Government's target of 4,000 civilian members in the next five years was achievable.

The Commissioner also said policing the border after Brexit would be a major challenge because the existing criminal justice treaties would fall away.

He said he would be anxious in cooperating with the PSNI to secure the border and prevent an increase in organised crime and terror-related activities.


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Mr Harris also stood over the evidence he gave to the Smithwick Tribunal of garda collusion in the murders of two senior RUC police officers.

He said he understood that may have caused significant hurt, but he also said he knew there were many fine, dedicated gardaí policing Dundalk and the border area.

The new commissioner also said it was not his experience that morale was low in An Garda Síochána.

He said he wanted to reassure the people of Ireland that he was here to lead the force, to protect the people.

Mr Harris said the greatest terrorist threat to this country comes from dissident republicans and gardaí would continue to focus on their activities.

The international terrorist threat, he said, is more a long-term threat to Europe and the force would continue to work closely with European counterparts.

Mr Harris also rejected that he was in any way "an outsider."

He said he was Irish, a police officer from the island of Ireland, who had previously worked closely with An Garda Síochána, and he was here to lead.

Commissioner Harris also said that as he witnessed the controversies over the years that led to the retirements of two previous commissioners, he thought: "I'll have a go at that."

He also said he had experience of a change process and accountability mechanisms. "I know how I am going to do things," he said.