Kevin Vickers formally presented his credentials to Irish President Michael Higgins on Wednesday, starting a new chapter in his career as Canada’s ambassador to Ireland.
The two men posed side-by-side at Áras an Uachtaráin, Ireland’s presidential residence in Dublin, with the 58-year-old Miramichi native towering over Higgins.
The photo-op prompted some on social media to offer witty commentary.
“Canada sends its Friendly Giant to Ireland to keep an eye on things,” quipped one Twitter user.
“A diplomat to look up to,” joked another.
Vickers got straight to work on his first day, meeting with Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan. The two discussed trade relations between the two countries, according to a news release.
Flanagan mentioned how thrilled he is to have Vickers in the position.
“He brings to this role both his close personal ties to Ireland and his long experience of service to the Canadian people,” he said.
Referring to Vickers' Irish heritage, Flanagan added that "this ideal mix will serve Irish-Canadian relations very well."
During the meeting, the pair discussed a possible expansion of trade and tourism relations. Ireland’s trade with Canada is currently valued at $3.9 billion CAD.
Vickers’ appointment to the position was announced earlier this month by Stephen Harper. The prime minister praised him for his “profound leadership” and “outstanding service” to his country.
The former sergeant-at-arms responded to Harper’s remarks at the time by saying he was “humbled” by the opportunity, calling it an “honour.”
His reputation at home was elevated to hero status for his role in stopping a gunman inside Canada’s parliament on Oct. 22. The 29-year RCMP veteran was delivered a standing ovation in the House of Commons for his courageous act the following day.
Vickers begins a four-year term as ambassador, assuming the role formerly held by Loyola Hearn.
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