The apppointment of a US special envoy to Northern Ireland has been welcomed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.
US president Donald Trump on Friday confirmed that his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has taken up the role, which had been vacant since former US senator Gary Hart left the position in 2017 when Mr Trump took power.
Mr Mulvaney is an Irish-American and has strong links to Co Mayo, which is where his grandparents are from.
“Really pleased Mick Mulvaney has been appointed as US special envoy to Northern Ireland,” Mr Varadkar said in a Twitter post on Saturday. “He has been a good friend to Ireland and understands all the key issues in detail. He’ll have a hotline to President Trump when it comes to issues affecting Ireland, north and south.”
Mrs Foster said she met Mr Mulvaney when he took a recent trip to Belfast and demonstrated an an interest in the restoration of a powersharing Executive.
“The United States has been a loyal friend to Northern Ireland and the appointment of the new Special Envoy will be important in developing that friendship,” she said in a statement.
“The US is a key market for us and we will be using our time in Washington next week to get the message across that we are open for businesses, an attractive place to invest with a skilled and strong work force.”
Ms O’Neill said she hoped his appointment would “allow him to build on the work of those who held the role before him in supporting the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement”.
“We have strong historical, political and economic connections with the US and I look forward to working with the new Special Envoy during his term in office to build on those links as we work to protect our interests after Brexit.” - PA