With Hillary Clinton well clear in the polls many Irish Americans have begun thinking of that plum job: Ambassador to the Emerald Isle, a post which has been graced by such luminaries as Jean Kennedy Smith and Dan Rooney, Co-founder of the Ireland Fund.
But what if Donald Trump steals the fire like Prometheus and becomes President? It is certainly harder to see who might be on his radar.
Obama’s second appointee, Kevin O’Malley, did not assume office until October 2014, almost two years after Obama’s election victory, when three previous picks failed to pass muster. That is not likely to happen again.
In the Clintons’ 26 years they have gathered a very large group of Irish friends and Hillary continues to be a strong supporter of the peace process. Usually an ambassadorship, like that to Ireland, goes to someone who has raised at least $250,000, but the Clintons may not apply the usual rule.
During the recent New York primary the Clintons held two separate Irish events making clear how important the issue was to them. Donald Trump has stayed away from ethnic groups other than to bash Hispanics and Blacks so he is a complete unknown on Irish terrain.
Here is an early guess at some of the contenders:
Elizabeth Frawley Bagley who had raised over $1 million for Hillary and is a former Ambassador to Portugal would be a major contender but is said to have her eyes on London or Paris. Very close to the Clintons.
Maureen White, former National Director of Fundraising for the Clinton campaign. She and husband Steve Rattner have raised millions for the Democratic Party. Deeply involved in the Irish Arts Center in New York and has a reputation of getting things done. May prefer a different post than Ireland if she decided to become an ambassador.
Brian O'Dwyer - New York civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. Unquestioned commitment to Irish issues. Not in the same league for fundraising as Bagley or White but a strong friend of the Clintons.
William McKiernan - Cybersource founder and Silicon Valley multimillionaire is a committed advocate for Ireland. A Boston College grad, he is on the American Ireland Fund board and sold his company to Visa for $2 billion. Said to be interested in Irish job but not known for Clinton connections.
John FitzPatrick - Chairman American of the Ireland Fund. Irish-born with extensive business links, he would be first Irish-born ambassador since John Mulcahy, who was President Nixon’s choice. Close to the Clinton inner circle.
Congressman Peter King: Long Island congressman has had a long connection to Ireland and was involved in the peace process. Ireland would be an ideal job for him after an extensive political career.
Congressman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina has recently been active on Irish issues including immigration concerns and Irish citizens. One of the few serving members of congress who had said he would be happy to support Trump in his race.
Former Congressman Jim Walsh the former head of the Friends of Ireland, now a lobbyist. Walsh gets along with everyone, which is probably why he didn't last in Congress. The Syracuse native would be a popular choice.
Robert E. Murray: major businessman, owner of Murray Energy, a coal baron, still running his company at 76. Has come out for Trump and is one of the very few major businessmen who has.
Peggy Noonan: Wall Street Journal columnist, former Reagan speechwriter and keeper of the Reagan flame. She would be an interesting choice given her background and Trump’s need – if he is elected – to reach out to Republican establishment.
Who do you think would be a good next American Ambassador to Ireland? Share your thoughts in the comment section.