Kevin Vickers, the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms lauded as a hero for his role in stopping the gunman who attacked Parliament Hill in October, has been named Canada's next ambassador to Ireland.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally announced the appointment Thursday, saying Vickers' credentials will be now be put forward to Michael Higgins, president of the Republic of Ireland.
"Kevin Vickers has shown profound leadership and dedication to the security of Canada and its national institutions," Harper said in a statement. "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."
In a statement of his own, Vickers said he is "humbled" by the invitation to serve his country.
"As a Canadian with family on both sides hailing from Ireland, there could be no greater honour,'' he said.
An Irish-Canadian from New Brunswick, Vickers, 58, joined the the House of Commons security staff in 2005 and became sergeant-at-arms in 2006. He became a household name and was seen as something of a Canadian folk hero after the attack on Parliament Hill last fall.
Many politicians said the 29-year veteran of the RCMP saved their lives by firing on Michael Zehaf-Bibeau after he stormed Parliament. Vickers is credited with killing Zehaf-Bibeau, who murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial.
NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar told The Canadian Press Thursday that Vickers will be missed on Parliament Hill.
"For the last eight years, Mr. Vickers has been a strong and reassuring presence in the House of Commons,'' Dewar said. "I know that he will continue to represent Canada with poise and honour as a diplomat.''
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also took to Twitter to share best wishes.
Kevin Vickers showed great courage and diplomatic skill as Parliament’s Sgt-at-Arms. Best wishes on his new role as Ambassador to Ireland.— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) January 8, 2015
But Vickers' heroism also sparked international attention.
French President Francois Hollande praised him during an address to Canada's Parliament in November.
"I salute the courage of Kevin Vickers, who is known all across the world," Hollande said.
Vickers was also feted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Jerusalem in November.
He will replace former Conservative MP and cabinet minister Loyola Hearn, who was appointed to the role in 2010.
The news of Vickers' appointment was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews online.
Congratulations to Kevin Vickers on his appointment as Canada's ambassador to Ireland.— James Moore (@JamesMoore_org) January 8, 2015
Congratulations to Kevin Vickers on his appointment to Ambassador to Ireland. I am confident Mr Vickers will be an outstanding Ambassador.— John Carmichael, MP (@JohnBCarmichael) January 8, 2015
Congrats to my friend Kevin Vickers-the new Canadian Ambassador to Ireland. You will be an awesome representative but missed in Ottawa!— Bruce A. Heyman (@BruceAHeyman) January 8, 2015
Congrats to Sgt-at-Arms Kevin Vickers on appt as Canada's Ambassador to Ireland. Will be missed as guardian of Parl pic.twitter.com/zNcuAuyP5e— Peter Kent, MP (@KentThornhillMP) January 8, 2015
Had we sent Kevin Vickers to Ireland sooner, there would have been no potato famine and DeLoreans would be worth more than Porches.— Cal MacLellan (@califax) January 8, 2015
Kevin Vickers aka don't mess with me Bruce Willis/John McClane-Diehard named Canadian Ambassador to Ireland.... http://t.co/f8SDLNYPNc— Kevin Gormley (@rectorykimkevin) January 8, 2015
Congratulations Kevin Vickers on becoming ambassador to Ireland. Yet another reason to visit— Mark Critch (@markcritch) January 8, 2015
Nice news about Kevin Vickers but who can fill his shoes as Sergeant-at-Arms? RoboCop?!— ottguy (@ottguy) January 8, 2015
I really like the fact that Kevin Vickers has been appointed Canadian Ambassador to Ireland. What a deserving and appropriate honour.— Steve Rowe (@SJ_Rowe) January 8, 2015
Says something about Canada that the highest honour you can get is to be moved to a warmer country with good booze. http://t.co/3Xgtgi9QAB— Josh Visser (@joshvisser) January 8, 2015
With files from The Canadian Press
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