Brendan Smith welcomes US Ambassador nomination but calls for NI Special Envoy

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed the nomination of a new US Ambassador to Ireland but has also renewed calls for the appointment of a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland.  

US President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Claire Cronin to the role of US Ambassador to Ireland on Wednesday.  

Deputy Brendan Smith welcomed the nomination, commenting, “The role of US Ambassador to Ireland is one which highlights the historic importance of Irish/US relations and the close nature of that relationship. I wish Ms Cronin the very best in the role and look forward to having the opportunity to meet with her in the future.”  

The Cavan and Monaghan TD also raised the issue of the prospect of the appointment of a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland by the US Administration.  

“I have again asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs to raise this pressing issue with the US Administration. The appointment of a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland is a vital role which, I feel, is needed as a matter of urgency at present and would be a positive move towards increased and ongoing stability in Northern Ireland. The role has always been greatly valued over the years by the Irish Government and other political parties.”  

Deputy Smith added: “Recently, senior members of the US Congress have written to President Biden in relation to the merit of making such an appointment again, which shows there is growing support across the Atlantic for the renewal of this role.”  

ENDS  

Note to editors  

See PQ attached  

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 20/05/2021
Question Number(s)259 Question Reference(s): 27435/21
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised the need to appoint an ambassador to Ireland as soon as possible with  the US Administration; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY




The appointment of Ambassadors by the United States is solely a matter for the US authorities. However, during their meeting on St. Patrick’s Day, President Biden assured the Taoiseach that   the matter is under active consideration by the White House.

 

Pending the nomination of a new US Ambassador to Ireland by President Biden and the subsequent confirmation of the appointment by the US Senate, we continue to engage closely with the US Embassy in Dublin on the whole range of issues pertaining to the Ireland-US relationship.

 

We have a very strong and positive working relationship with the US Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Alex McKnight, and her team.  I know that this will continue to be the case until, and indeed after, a new Ambassador is appointed. I am particularly grateful for the ongoing cooperation during the COVID 19 pandemic and for the work of the previous US Ambassador, Edward Crawford, during his time in Ireland. 

 

We do of course look forward to the arrival of a new US Ambassador in due course. Ireland has always maintained close relations with the US and will continue to do so, including through our Embassy in Washington D.C., our other diplomatic Missions across the United States, and through the US Embassy in Dublin.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 20/05/2021
Question Number(s)260 Question Reference(s): 27436/21
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised with the US Administration the appointment of a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that recently senior members of the US Congress have written to President Biden in relation to the merit of such an appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY




The Government is working closely with President Biden and the US Administration on our bilateral agenda, including in relation to Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement.

A longstanding commitment to peace on the island of Ireland continues to be felt strongly in the US. The Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland are not simply an achievement of the Irish and British Governments and the political representatives of the people of Northern Ireland, but one to which successive US Administrations and Members of Congress have also contributed. 

The role of the US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland has been greatly valued by the Irish Government over many years. The appointment of a Special Envoy would be warmly welcomed by the Government. In any circumstances, the US will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role in supporting peace, stability and prosperity in Northern Ireland.

I am grateful that President Biden continues to make an important contribution to this ongoing effort, as he has done consistently throughout his career to date, and that the US continues to stand in support of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Government greatly values the continued support, friendship and engagement of the US on the Peace Process, and for the stability and prosperity of Northern Ireland. I know these messages were reiterated by the Taoiseach during his St. Patrick’s Day engagements in the US in March.

I also met virtually with the Friends of Ireland Caucus in the US Congress in March. This meeting, as well as the recent statements from President Biden’s Administration, underline once again the bipartisan support from America’s most senior political figures for stability in Northern Ireland and safeguarding the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.