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US ambassador Dan Rooney says "no specific date for departure"

Washington’s ambassador to Ireland has responded to comments from his son that he is to resign this year.

Dan Rooney with Enda Kenny last October
Dan Rooney with Enda Kenny last October
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE US AMBASSADOR has said there is “no specific date” for his departure in response to comments from his son that he is to step down later this year.

Dan Rooney has released a statement noting that 4 July will mark three years since he has taken residence at the US Embassy in Dublin and said that: “There is no specific date for departure”.

The statement comes in response to comments from his son, Art Rooney II, who said his father would rejoin the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team where he was formerly chairman.

The statement says:

In reference to recent media reports, the role of Ambassador from the United States of America to Ireland is extremely rewarding work. It is a privilege to serve President Obama and the country, and to support and expand the excellent relationship we enjoy with Ireland.

On July 4, 2012, I will have served three years in Dublin.  There is no specific date for departure.

Rooney was appointed by US President Barack Obama in 2009 having campaigned for him during the 2008 election to help him win the crucial state of Pennsylvania and TheJournal.ie understands that Rooney would be likely to campaign for him again.

This would mean he would have to resign as ambassador. Though the role has no set time frame, it usually lasts about three years.

Were the ambassador to step down, the current Deputy Chief of Mission, John Hennessey-Niland would step up to become Chargé D’Affaires until a new ambassador is appointed.

The appointment of ambassadors is at the discretion of the president of the day. If President Obama were to lose office in the November’s US presidential election then all ambassadors would automatically tender their resignations, though some are retained by a new administration.

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