Belfast Telegraph

Top US politician Nancy Pelosi may visit border area during trip to Ireland

Visit: Nancy Pelosi
Visit: Nancy Pelosi
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Speculation is growing that US political heavyweight Nancy Pelosi will visit the border region next week.

Ms Pelosi, who is speaker of the House of Representatives, is also due to address the Dail next Wednesday during her transatlantic visit.

The California Democrat has taken an active interest in US/Mexico border issues as immigration issues at America's frontier with its Latin American neighbour have risen up the US political agenda.

News of Ms Pelosi's plans comes as US President Donald Trump's nominee for the position of ambassador to Ireland told a US Senate confirmation hearing yesterday that he will work to uphold the Good Friday Agreement "at all costs". Businessman Edward F Crawford made the comments as he appeared before the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

The Irish-American's father emigrated from Cork in 1925, with his mother following in 1927.

The 80-year-old is the CEO of Park-Ohio Holdings, an international manufacturing company with revenues of $1.9bn.

It makes products for trucks, washing machines and the aerospace sector, and employs more than 7,500 people around the world. Mr Crawford also owns a distribution business in Cork city which employs 17 people.

He said that he felt his business experience would serve him well as ambassador.

"In the 58 years building this company I learned a great deal about people," he told the Senate committee, adding that he would work to bring "knowledge and enthusiasm" to his new role.

Mr Crawford said he felt he could strengthen the ties between the countries.

Senators questioned the businessman on the effect Brexit was having in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"It's unfortunate that we have two of our closest allies, the EU and the UK, in this situation," Mr Crawford said, acknowledging that Brexit had affected Ireland in "very strange ways".

Asked by New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen about the potential effect on the border, Mr Crawford said that the issue was "something that has to be settled by the two parties most concerned, that is the EU and the UK".

If approved, he will serve as the first US ambassador to Ireland in more than two years.

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