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Next Irish ambassador to Washington hopes crackdown on Kinahan cartel will make a big difference

Geraldine Byrne Nason will take over the role of Irish Ambassador to Washington in early Autumn.

Pictured is a poster at the conference where it was announced that the US government has imposed sanctions on the three most senior members of the Kinahan organised crime group.
Pictured is a poster at the conference where it was announced that the US government has imposed sanctions on the three most senior members of the Kinahan organised crime group.

THE NEXT IRISH ambassador to the US has told The Journal that she hopes the crackdown on criminals such as the Kinahan cartel announced this week will make a difference. 

Geraldine Byrne Nason currently holds the role as Irish Ambassador to the United Nations, but she will take over the role of Irish Ambassador to Washington in early Autumn, she confirmed. 

The Irish ambassador to Washington Dan Mulhall is to retire from the Department of Foreign Affairs in August following a 44-year career as a diplomat.

Mulhall attended Dublin’s City Hall this week where senior ranking members of multiple police forces gathered for a press conference.

The Drugs Enforcement Agency from the US, the National Crime Agency from the UK and Europol were all represented.

A reward of $5 million “for information leading to the financial disruption of the Kinahan Organised Crime Organisation or the arrest and/or conviction” of each of the three men is being offered.

The US Treasury also imposed multiple sanctions on the cartel. US banks and companies are barred from doing business with the three men, or with four other men named as their associates today. Three businesses associated with the Kinahans were also named on the sanctions list by the Treasury Department 

All seven men will be banned from boarding US airlines.

Asked whether she will work with the US authorities in her new role, to keep the pressure on organised crime, Byrne Nason said the announcement this week is “an important initiative”.

“Anything that we can do nationally, to minimise international crime and to hold people to account” is welcome, she said. 

“We constantly, in my current job, talk about holding countries to account. Criminals play with borders, they play with legal frameworks”, she added. 

The Irish Government will continue to work very closely with Interpol and Europol, she said. 

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“But this initiative, in the context of moving through to the US, obviously raises that to another level,” she said. 

“The Government’s determination to stop both criminal activity, abuse of funds, abuse of our financial institutions and, indeed, to curb violent activity, which we’ve seen in the past, can only be applauded, so I hope it makes a difference,” she said. 

shutterstock_1041690013 (1) Geraldine Byrne Nason will take up the role as the Irish ambassador in Washington in the autumn. Source: Shutterstock/a katz

Byrne Nason told The Journal in a previous interview that the UN Security Council needs to be reformed, particularly in relation to the veto given to permanent members; and that she will push to get the E3 Visa issue over the line as part of her role as US ambassador.

Access to the E3 Visa Scheme would mean a new batch of US Visas for Irish people. In return, Ireland is to increase access to the labour market for US workers.

It could mean up to 5,000 US visas a year could be specifically set aside for Irish citizens.

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