Belfast Telegraph

Trump's pick for Irish ambassador pledges to uphold Good Friday Agreement 'at all costs'

Edward F. Crawford.
Edward F. Crawford.

US President Donald Trump's nomination for the position of ambassador to Ireland has said that he will work to uphold the Good Friday Agreement.

Businessman Edward F. Crawford appeared before the US Senate's Foreigns Relations Committee at his confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Mr Crawford said that he would work to convey the US position "that the Good Friday Agreement should be upheld at all costs".

The Ohio businessman is Irish American, his 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 business with revenues of $1.9bn.

His business 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.

He said 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.

“I think I could be a very positive force for the goal to make the relationship stronger,” he said.

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.

He acknowledged 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".

However he said that the US position was that the Good Friday Agreement "should be upheld at all costs".

Mr Crawford's nomination will now go to a committee vote, followed by a full Senate vote, before he is confirmed as the next ambassador to Ireland.

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

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