There is deep concern in Irish and Irish American circles as no US Ambassador to Ireland appointment is expected until 2019.
A second person offered the post of US Ambassador to Ireland has dropped out according to a report in the Sunday Times Irish edition.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs is said to be increasingly frustrated by the absence of an ambassador, especially as many major issues involving Irish and American relations are at a critical point.
Edward Crawford, 80, a billionaire Cleveland businessman was the preferred new choice and was expected to be nominated around St. Patrick’s Day. There was no announcement however and no appointment is expected before year’s end.
It is not known why Crawford is no longer in the frame.
An Irish diplomatic source told the Times that Irish America was “embarrassed” that there had been no appointment.
Of the fifty European countries Ireland along with Luxembourg, Switzerland, Hungary and Belgium are the remaining countries without an ambassador since Trump was elected.
Ireland has not had one since January 2017 when President Trump was inaugurated and demanded all Obama appointments leave their jobs. The Obama appointed ambassador, St Louis lawyer Kevin O’Malley, departed Dublin soon after and the job has been vacant since.
Trump’s first pick was philanthropist and businessman Brian Burns, a personal friend from Palm Beach Florida who has had a deep interest in Irish affairs and donated the Brian J. Burns library to Boston College. He is also very active in the Ireland Funds.
Burns however, underwent health problems and at age 82 was unable to take up the position.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have made clear to the Trump administration that issues such as Brexit, the Irish peace process and the role of American multinationals in Ireland make an ambassador necessary.
Trump is aware of the concern and he specifically brought up the Brexit impact on the Irish peace process during a phone call with his British counterpart Theresa May in June.
No addition to no ambassador there is also no special envoy to Northern Ireland a position that played an important role in the peace process when held by Senator George Mitchell among others. There is not much optimism on that front either with new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo professing complete ignorance on the position when asked about it during recent House hearings.