Could former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg be named as the next US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland?
Speculation mounted after the story on President Joe Biden’s decision to name a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland was first broken by Bloomberg News, a highly unusual location for a story about a political appointment to Ireland.
Mike Bloomberg has extensive experience with Irish issues having taken many trips there as mayor of New York. On one occasion in 2006, Bloomberg dedicated a monument in County Sligo to American Civil War veteran Michael Corcoran.
Bloomberg worked with prominent Irish American radio hosts Adrian Flannelly and Aine Sheridan when he was in office and is still seen at Irish events, most notably the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick annual dinner, where he is a fixture on the dais.
He is a spry 80-year-old who was rumored to be interested in becoming US Ambassador to Britain after his abortive run for the White House but never made it.
He is already a UN special envoy for the UN on climate control.
President Biden is reportedly set to name a new US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland early in the new year as the US seeks to play a larger role in resolving the ongoing Brexit disputes, according to reports.
The Biden Administration reportedly believes that the Envoy will play a critical role in resolving the Brexit dispute in Northern Ireland, which centers around the divisive Northern Ireland Protocol, which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Unionists say that the Protocol threatens Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom and have launched continuous protests against it.
The position of Special Envoy to Northern Ireland has been vacant since January 2021, when former President Donald Trump's candidate Mick Mulvaney departed the role.
Biden has faced criticism from the Irish American community for failing to appoint Mulvaney's successor since his inauguration in January 2021.
Irish American groups have endorsed former Congressman Bruce Morrison who played a major role in the original peace process for the position of Special Envoy.