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The US has finally approved a new ambassador to Ireland

But who is he?

Updated 8.03am

THE POSITION OF the United States ambassador to Ireland has been filled, having been vacant for 22 months.

The US Senate last night approved the appointment of President Obama’s nominee for the role, Kevin O’Malley, an Irish-American lawyer from St Louis, Missouri.

He will make his home in the Deerfield Residence in the Phoenix Park.

O’Malley held dual citizenship in Ireland and America before renouncing his Irish citizenship to allow him take up an ambassadorial role here.

O’Malley, whose grandparents are from Westport, is a long-time supporter and ‘close personal friend’ of Barack Obama. He attended college and law school at Saint Louis University and was a Special Attorney for the US Department of Justice. He also lectured in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as at Washington University.

His approval to take over from Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steeler, who left the post in December 2012, was a smooth process, but was delayed until after the August recess.

He will be sworn in by US Secretary of State John Kerry, before presenting his credentials to President Michael D Higgins.

Since Rooney’s resignation, the role has been filled by two charges d’affaires, John Hennessey-Niland and Stuart Dwyer. It is the longest that the role has ever been unfilled in the history of relations between Ireland and the US.

Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the day of his resignation, Rooney said the relationship between the US and Ireland was the “strongest it has ever been”.

“Ours is not a foreign relationship between two countries; ours is a shared kinship between two great peoples,” he wrote.

Originally published 18 September, 2.42pm. Additional reporting by Nicky Ryan.

Read: Incoming US ambassador wants to meet all parties in Northern Ireland

Read: Phoenix Park’s newest resident: Kevin F O’Malley appointed US ambassador to Ireland

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