Barack Obama and Denis McDonough

Irish American Denis McDonough is the inside favorite to succeed Rahm Emanuel as Obama Chief of Staff say White House sources.

McDonough is currently National Security Council Chief of Staff . Emanuel is expected to  run for Mayor of  Chicago and leave the White House
If it happens McDonough would have more access to this president than any other person in the White House.

The two men are close . “Obama and McDonough seem to idolize each other," a source told the Chicago Sun Times. "It's safe to say they are very close. Adoration may be in the mix."

McDonough is  a staunch Irish Catholic who was raised in Minnesota and  has stated it is  a "blessing" to work with President Obama. Two of his brothers are priests.

McDonough did part of his master’s thesis at Georgetown University on the Northern troubles. “It was well into the Good Friday process and a very hopeful time,” he said in an interview with Lara Marlowe of The Irish Times.

He had high praise  for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her work on Northern Ireland.

“Secretary Clinton did a great thing when she assumed the role of the envoy for herself. It underscores her commitment to it, and frankly it underscores the president’s commitment to it. They are in close touch on it.”

McDonough accompanied the first family to Hawaii last Christmas. He is six-feet-two, and frequently plays basketball with the president. He was first to inform him of the Haiti earthquake, after which Obama placed him in charge of post Earthquake

During the presidential campaign he led a staff of over 300 policy advisers and was the key figure back then on Northern Ireland and the Irish American community. His grandparents emigrated from Galway; his mother's parents were O'Mahonys from Cork. He is also close to Irish Ambassador Michael Collins.