It's official, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has added a pre-Christmas visit to Dublin to her engagement diary.

And she will hold a meeting with Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s First Deputy Minister in Washington on Wednesday to discuss progress in the peace process

According to the Herald, Clinton has confirmed to Irish government officials that she intends to travel there in December.

Her acceptance is a surprise as the invitation is to a low key ministerial meeting as part of Ireland's presidency of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

But there is no question that her acceptance will represent a major boost to Enda Kenny close to  Budget day.

Last month, the Herald revealed that ongoing attempts were being made to entice Clinton to visit after November's election, and they have proved successful.

The official invitations to the event have not been posted but behind the scenes talks have reportedly taken place between Irish and US representatives.

'We are working on the understanding that Secretary Clinton will be travelling to Dublin in the first week of December,' a source told the Herald. 'Her representatives have indicated that she intends to come. Everybody is delighted. It's a bit of a coup.'

Other high-profile guests scheduled to attend the ministerial meeting include British foreign secretary William Hague, along with the foreign ministers of France, Russia, Germany, and Turkmenistan.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs told the Herald: 'The invitations haven't been formally issued yet. They will be sent out in late October or early November.'