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Government appoints two Deputy Garda Commissioners

The Government has today approved the appointment of two Deputy Commissioners in An Garda Síochána following their nomination by the Policing Authority. 

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, welcomed the appointments of Ms Anne Marie McMahon of An Garda Síochána and Dr Shawna Coxon of the Toronto Police Service to the posts and said:

“I offer my wholehearted congratulations to acting Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon and Dr Shawna Coxon on their appointment to the posts of Deputy Garda Commissioner. Both of these officers have solid records of achievement and delivery and bring deep skill, experience and huge personal commitment to policing to these important senior positions.

These roles are crucial to the effective day to day management and strategic direction of An Garda Síochána as well as supporting the Garda Commissioner in leading the implementation of the extensive reform programme ongoing at present.”

Policing Authority Chairperson Bob Collins said:  

“I warmly welcome the decision of the Government to appoint the two candidates that the Policing Authority had nominated as Deputy Commissioners of the Garda Síochána. In congratulating Anne Marie McMahon and Shawna Coxon, the Authority recognises the significance of the moment. These are crucial positions in the life of the Garda Síochána and the appointments come at a time of change, of achievement and of challenge.

They have come through a demanding and thorough selection process that brings together the Government, the Authority and the Public Appointments Service and they thoroughly merit their selection. In addition to the qualities and diverse experience that they will bring to their new roles, they will have an opportunity to make a major contribution to the character and quality of the policing service that the Garda Síochána brings to the people of Ireland.”

Deputy Commissioners have responsibility for overseeing and guiding the operation and governance of An Garda Síochána, and delivering strong leadership that supports the vision, mission and values of the organisation. They are also required to deputise from time to time for the Commissioner. 

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris added:

“I am very pleased to congratulate Anne Marie McMahon and Dr Shawna Coxon on their appointments as Deputy Commissioner and to welcome Dr Coxon to An Garda Síochána.

Anne Marie brings huge policing experience, competence in difficult senior command roles, and drive and determination in delivering change through the Policing Service for our Future reform agenda. Through the exercise of positive leadership and example she has earned the trust and respect of members and staff within An Garda Síochána. Deputy Commissioner Coxon brings with her extensive policing experience from her service in Toronto, Canada. In particular, she has experience of change management, community policing in a diverse city and serious crime investigations including utilising intelligence to its full potential.

I look forward to working with the Deputy Commissioners in the months and years ahead as the Policing Service for our Future reforms are delivered and we continue to deliver a policing service that keeps people safe through a strong bond between An Garda Siochana and the community.” 

Ms McMahon has been appointed with effect from 10 February 2021.  Dr Coxon will take up duty on 19 April and Government has appointed her with effect from that date. 

Minister McEntee also paid tribute to Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, who will shortly be retiring from his role.

The Minister said:

“I want to pay tribute and express my warmest thanks on behalf of the Government to outgoing Deputy Commissioner John Twomey. John has given outstanding service to the people of Ireland throughout his distinguished 38 year career in An Garda Síochána, particularly over the last 5 years as Deputy Commissioner for Policing and Security. He has been an exemplary public servant and I send my very best wishes to John and his family in the next phase.”

The Commissioner said:

“On behalf of all at An Garda Síochána I want to thank Deputy Commissioner John Twomey for his dedicated service of 38 years and in particular, his sterling work of the last 12 months of the covid19 crisis when he has provided such clear leadership. I wish John and his family every good fortune in their next adventure.”

Bob Collins said:

“We will have an early public opportunity to mark the contribution that Deputy Commissioner John Twomey has made to the Garda Síochána in his distinguished career.”

Notes for Editors: 

Anne Marie McMahon  

Anne Marie joined An Garda Síochána in 1986 and is currently assigned as acting Deputy Commissioner, Strategy, Governance & Performance.  

In this role she has been leading on the implementation of “A Policing Service for our Future” and championing the importance of delivering on this transformation programme. Among the key actions for which she is responsible is the continued roll-out of the new Operating Model.  Previously she has been Assistant Commissioner Southern Region from 2016 to 2020.  Prior to this appointment, she was Director of Training and Development, Garda College in Templemore.  She has held a number of other senior roles in An Garda Síochána including Chief Superintendent of the Garda Community Relations Bureau and Superintendent in both Roxboro Road and Bruff and Inspector in Henry Street and Newcastle West, Co Limerick. In her earlier career Anne Marie served in Coolock, Dublin, Henry Street, Limerick and with the United Nations in Cambodia.

She holds a MBS (Honours) Human Resource Management from the University of Limerick and a BA (Honours) in Police Management, Garda College.  In 2014 she received a Diploma in Business and Executive Coaching (Distinction) Smurfit Business School.

Dr Shawna Coxon 

Dr Coxon has over 24 years of policing experience. In her current role she oversees the Human Resources Command. Prior to that she led community and neighbourhood policing as well as the major crime bureaus in all 16 police divisions in the City of Toronto. Previously she has been Deputy Chief of Priority Response Command which is the largest Command within the Toronto Police Service.  Other roles include Intelligence Services which included covert operations, mobile surveillance, statistical assessment and analysis. This work also involved cyber-crime, hate crime/extremism investigations, VIP protection and international assistance.

She holds a Ph.D. Law (Criminal) from the University of Leicester, UK; a Master’s in Criminology from the University of Toronto and a BA (Honours) in Psychology from York University, Toronto.