Irish Peace Envoy Race Hots Up

Who will be Obama’s peace envoy to Ireland? The question has taken on a new urgency following the outbreak of killings last week when two soldiers and policeman were killed.

The first envoy of course, was George Mitchell who did a stellar job in framing the Good Friday Agreement and each appointment since has been drawn from the State Department internal apparatus

We understand there are three main contenders for the position, Mark Tuohey a Washington lawyer who has extensive experience in Northern Ireland issues through his work with Co-Operation Ireland is one.

 Anne- Marie Slaughter who was appointed Director of Policy Planning at the State Department in January is another. She was formerly Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of public and international affairs at Princeton.

The third contender is Elizabeth Bagley, formerly Ambassador to Portugal under President Clinton and a former State Department and senator Edward Kennedy staffer.

Hillary Clinton of course, will be the final arbiter of who gets the nod. Bagley is married to tobacco heir Smith Bagley and has been a huge contributor to the Clinton campaigns over the years. She has also been lobbying hard for the job, as has Tuohey.

If Clinton goes the conventional route Slaughter will be the obvious choice. Clinton promised Irish advocates that she would pick a high-ranking person and the three in the frame seem to fit that bill. Bagley and Tuohey would certainly the experience of Northern Ireland but Slaughter would have the ability, as an insider at the State Department, to move the bureaucracy.

Rooney May Be Named Irish Ambassador

President Obama is debating this St.Patrick’s week whether to say that Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney is his choice for Ambassador to Ireland pending a background check, or leave the matter alone until the background check is complete.

Rooney, a very early supporter of Obama is assured of the job at this point but the pesky background checks have undermined many other candidates so the White House are playing it very carefully.

Obama certainly wants to make the announcement of Rooney, co-founder   of the American Ireland Fund , who  would be an overwhelmingly popular choice but the embarrassment of going to early and then finding  a problem would be enormous. We bet however, he will announce pending the background stuff.

John Sweeney for Vatican?

AFL CIO Chief John Sweeney will shortly step down from his job and we believe will receive a position in the Obama administration.

Ambassador to the Vatican is certainly being discussed we believe, which would be a remarkable achievement  for the Bronx-born son of an Irish emigrant bus driver.

Sweeney has led his union back to the promised land after the out years under   Bush and no one is happier than he to see the changing of the guard.

Meanwhile the battle for his replacement is under way. Terry O’Sullivan of the Laborer’s Union is certainly a contender, but will have an uphill fight against Richard Trumka, the Secretary/Treasurer of the AFL/CIO.