Chicago Daley family among frontrunners for new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

January 9, 2012: President Barack Obama, flanked by outgoing White House Chief of Staff William Daley,

Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley is among the frontrunners for Ambassador to Ireland, according to Democratic Party sources.

It is not expected that incumbent Dan Rooney will return.

Daley, 64, was a key figure for Obama during his first term and has also been mentioned as a possible contender for governor of Illinois in the 2014 contest.

Daley’s brother, former Chicago Mayor William Daley, could also be a contender but it is expected he will not go forward. The Daley brothers trace their roots back to Waterford.

Speculation in an Irish newspaper that Bill Clinton might be interested has been dismissed by Clinton personnel.

Obama appointed 59 ambassadors who were not career foreign policy officers. Of those, 25, including incumbent Dan Rooney, were from the ranks of his big fundraisers and supporters.

Two Obama fundraisers have strong Irish connections, Terry McAuliffe, former Clinton confidante, has declared for governor of Virginia in 2014.

Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, who was a former ambassador to Portugal in the Clinton era, has remained very active in the Irish arena through the American Ireland Fund.

Washington lawyer Mark Tuohey, a leading Democratic Party supporter, is also in the mix as could be Carol Wheeler, Irish liaison for Obama and leading Irish American figure in Washington D.C. Former Senator Chris Dodd, who owns a house in Galway, has also been mentioned.