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Canadian hero is new Irish ambassador

AN Irish-Canadian who shot dead an armed attacker in Canada's national parliament has been appointed the country's ambassador to Ireland.

Kevin Vickers, whose family are descended from Irish emigrants, was sergeant-at-arms in Canada's House of Commons when he shot and killed a gunman last October.

He has received various accolades for what was seen as an act of selfless bravery after the assailant had already killed a soldier guarding the building.

Mr Vickers (58) was the most senior security officer for the parliament when he shot dead the lone gunman. It was the first time the former policeman had exchanged fire in the line of duty.

The new ambassador, who takes up his role on January 19, said last night that both sides of his family have strong links with Cork.

"On my mother's side, Paul Kingston and his wife Lydia arrived in Miramichi, New Brunswick, in 1826," he said.

"This was prior to the Famine. He became well-known as a great lumberman. They came from Co Cork."

His father's side of the family can be traced to a man named William Vickers and three of his brothers who went to New Brunswick in 1848.

"There is a village, Vicarstown in Co Cork, where they are probably from," said Mr Vickers.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said Mr Vickers will make an excellent ambassador.