Belfast Telegraph

Hero of Ottawa attack named new ambassador to Ireland

By Brian Hutton

A guard hailed a hero after the shooting dead of a gunman who stormed the Canadian parliament last year has been unveiled as the country's new ambassador to the Irish Republic.

Former Mountie Kevin Vickers (58), the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms in Ottawa, confronted rifle-wielding Michael Zehaf-Bibeau on October 22 during a gunfight in the building, down the hall from where parties were holding meetings.

Zehaf-Bibeau had earlier gunned down Corporal Nathan Cirillo (24), who was assigned to the honour guard at the city's national war memorial.

Dublin Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed Mr Vickers appointment as Canadian Ambassador to Ireland. "His appointment is testament to Mr Vickers' long years of service to the people of Canada, most recently as sergeant-at-arms at Canada's House of Commons," he said.

"No one can forget that in October 2014, he was commended by all Canadian political parties for his central role arising from the attack on the parliament and the main war memorial in Ottawa."

Mr Vickers has a strong Irish-Canadian background. His family have been involved in Irish affairs in New Brunswick for many years.

The day after the shootout, Mr Vickers, a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was greeted by parliamentarians with a lengthy and noisy standing ovation as he took up his post again in the House of Commons.

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