There is a new front-runner for Ambassador to Ireland, high powered Washington attorney Mark Tuohey who is very well known in Irish American circles.
Tuohey (64) is a partner in Brown Rudnick, a key white shoe law firm heavily connected in D.C. and he has expressed interest in replacing popular ambassador Dan Rooney.
With Bill Clinton a definite non-candidate, attention has begun to focus on Tuohey who is a major Obama contributor and a close confidante of Vice President Joe Biden.
He is also married to Marty Daley, sister of Bill Daley, Obama’s former Chief of Staff and Richard Daley, former Mayor of Chicago, and they have three sons. His maternal grandparents come from Tipperary and his grandfather on his father’s side from Galway.
Sources say he has several major supporters on Capitol Hill where he is very well known on both sides of the aisle. He is also close to Vice President Biden.
“His is the only name we are hearing up here,” said one Capitol Hill staffer for a leading Irish American politician.
Tuohey was named Washingtonian of the Year in 2005 and he was chiefly instrumental in bringing Major League baseball to D.C. with the Washington Nationals.
His Irish credentials are also impressive.
There is a point of view in the State Department that the Dublin post need someone versed in Irish politics with a working knowledge of Northern Ireland especially given recent problems there.
“This is no time to give a big fundraiser with no real knowledge of Ireland a plum retirement job in Ireland,” said a Capitol Hill source. “We need a committed ambassador.”
Tuohey served as a legal advisor to the Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland. His two sons, Brendan and Sean, created Peace Players International, an international cross community basketball program which he served on the board of. There is an active branch in Northern Ireland.
He was Grand Marshal of the 2008 St.Patrick’s Parade in Washington D.C. and has made the Irish America Magazine Legal 100 list for several years.
No other major names have been floated to date but that is not to say they won’t. However, at the moment Tuohey is clearly the frontrunner.