For the first time in a quarter of a century, a minister from a congregation in the Republic of Ireland will become Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Rev Dr Sam Mawhinney, who is minister of Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church in Dublin, was elected Moderator-Designate this evening in the church's annual election for its principal public representative.

The Moderator is selected annually on the first Tuesday in February by ministers and elders in presbyteries across the island of Ireland.

Brought up in Ballycastle in Co Antrim, the 60-year-old father of three received the most votes from the Church’s 19 regional presbyteries when they met in various locations across Ireland.

Dr Mawhinney, who has been minister of the Dublin city centre church since 2008, will be the denomination’s 178th Moderator since 1840.

Rev Richard Murray who is minister of Drumreagh Presbyterian Church in Co Antrim, was also considered for election and received nine votes.

Dr Mawhinney, who received 10 votes, will be formally elected as Moderator by the Church’s General Assembly in June.

He will be the first Moderator from a congregation in the Republic of Ireland since the year 2000, when Co Dublin minister, Rev Trevor Morrow of Lucan Presbyterian Church, was elected to lead the church.

Until then, Dr Mawhinney will be known as the Moderator-Designate and continue to serve in his congregation.