A former US Ambassador to Ireland has slammed President Obama for not appointing a new envoy to Ireland in over 15 months, saying he needs to play less golf and do more work.
Tom Foley, who is running for governor in Connecticut, stated he cannot understand why the president has not even nominated someone. It is the longest time without an appointment to Ireland since 1927.
“To not even nominate somebody for nearly 18 months? He knew Dan Rooney was leaving Thanksgiving 2012, but has not even nominated somebody. I think a president more on top of his game would have done so, Foley told the Irish Examiner.
“It’s too much golf and not enough work . . . If he knocked off one round of golf he could take care of it.”
Foley stated that an ambassador was a vital part of the Irish and American relationship. He served as George Bush’s envoy from 2006 to 2009.
“The ambassador has a personal relationship with the president. If something needed to be done, he or she can call the president. There’s a lot more juice,” saidr Foley.
The Charge D’Affaires, who is a career civil servant, takes over in the absence of an ambassador but “does not have the juice,” says Foley.
Foley, 61, narrowly lost a previous race for governor in Connecticut going down to Democrat Dannel Malloy and he is challenging the incumbent again. A recent poll showed the two men tied with Foley easily winning the Republican nomination.
Foley says it is plain Obama is overwhelmed and unable to fill key diplomatic posts. “I think the Irish should not take it too personally, because there is an awful lot of other diplomatic appointments not made or stalled.”
New York-based lawyer Brian O’Dwyer, head of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, has described it as a “slap in the face” to Irish America and Ireland.
Stella O’Leary head of Irish American Democrats has called it a shame.
“There has been no communication, no reason for the delay and this has been to the severe disadvantage of the Irish in America and of Ireland,” said O’Leary.
Obama promised Irish leader Enda Kenny that an ambassador would be appointed soon during Kenny’s US visit over Saint Patrick’s Day.
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