A NEW US Ambassador to Ireland will finally be in place shortly as the Cabinet is set to approve the appointment of Ohio businessman Edward J Crawford.
The appointment comes following significant confusion about US President Donald Trump’s cancelled visit to Ireland in November.
It is expected to be announced by the White House later today before being rubber stamped by the US Senate.
The 80-year old is chairman of Park-Ohio holdings, a global manufacturing and supply-chain management company that is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
His grandparents emigrated to the US from Cork and he still has family connections in the county.
Crawford was named Person of the Year by the Mayo Society of Greater Cleveland in 2014, the first time ever that a person without Mayo roots was awarded the honour.
The role of ambassador to Ireland has been vacant for two years ever since Donald Trump’s inauguration. Reece Smyth is the current chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland.
Kevin O’Malley was the last US ambassador to Ireland, but his term ended when former US president Barack Obama left office.
The news comes just 24 hours after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Irish government needed to put more pressure on the US administration to appoint a new ambassador.
He welcome the new appointment, stating that the role is a very important one in US-Irish relations.
Recalling when Dan Rooney held the position, Martin said he was just “a phone call away” from President Obama.
The ambassador is “very valuable” in terms of getting policy points across, he added.
While he said he was not aware of Crawford’s background, he said it is important the ambassador is close to the president so that Irish interests can be relayed back to the White House.
Martin said he wished him well in the new job.
With reporting by Christina Finn