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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019

Donald Trump is yet to select an Irish ambassador but a Texan is keeping the seat warm

Reece Smyth is acting as chargé d’affaires in the US Embassy.

Smyth (centre) at the Gala Dinner for 1848 Tricolour Celebration.
Smyth (centre) at the Gala Dinner for 1848 Tricolour Celebration.
Image: Twitter/USAmbIreland

THERE’S NO IMMEDIATE sign that the Trump administration is about to appoint a full-time ambassador to Ireland.

The role is currently being held on an interim basis by Texas diplomat Reece Smyth who first arrived in Dublin in September last year.

Smyth is now chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Ireland after the departure of former Ambassador Kevin O’Malley in January.

The position fulfills the role of ambassador in the absence of a permanent appointee.

O’Malley was appointed by the Obama administration and departed his role here on the same day Donald Trump was sworn in over in Washington.

O’Malley told prior to that date that he wouldn’t see Trump getting sworn in as he’d be “over the Atlantic”.

Prior to O’Malley being appointed and after the departure of former ambassador Dan Rooney, there was a two-year gap when the US didn’t have an official ambassador to Ireland.

While it is hoped within the embassy that such a gap would not be repeated, there has been no movement on the announcement of a replacement.

When an announcement is made it will be made directly by the White House with the US Foreign Relations Committee then voting on whether to confirm the appointment.

Ambassadorial appointments are usually political in nature and often go to business people or politicians loyal to a given administration.

In the case of in interim appointments they usually come from the US State Department, as is the case with Smyth.

Smyth originally arrived in Dublin to take up the role of deputy chief of mission last September having come from an assignment in Beirut.

Before that he served as a US representative in Nato and also has previous deployments in Macedonia, Bosnia and Pakistan.

Smyth is originally from Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in Houston, Texas.

Read: Anger as ambassador hits out at claims Ireland will leave the EU >

Read: British ambassador to EU criticises ‘muddled thinking’ in Brexit negotiations following resignation >

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Rónán Duffy

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