Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  has announced that Irish native Declan Kelly, 41, will be the Obama administration's economic envoy to Northern Ireland, a position first created  for  Sen. George Mitchell during the Clinton administration.

The new position will be administered from an office in the State Department.

Kelly will be in Northern Ireland this weekend and early next week to meet Northern Irish leaders there, and discuss plans for economic development. Following that, he will attend the Global Irish  conference in Dublin hosted by the Irish government.

It is believed that HIllary Clinton will visit Northern Ireland in October and will make clear  that she is personally handling the political issues around the peace process.

Kelly, a native of Portroe, County Tipperary, has had a stellar rise  in American  business. Most recently, he was executive vice president of FTI, the global business consultancy  giant with over 3,500 employees.

Prior to that' he was chief executive of Financial Dynamics, one of the world's largest business and financial consultancy firms. He earlier founded a successful public relations company in Dublin before selling it and moving to America.  He ia a graduate of University College, Galway, and has been honored by the American Irish Historical Society.

Kelly is a key board member of the American Ireland Fund. He has also been named to the Irish America magazine Business 100 list on three occasions. He is a close associate of both Hillary and Bill Clinton, and hosted the former President at the University College, Galway, fundraising dinner in New York last year.