Belfast Telegraph

US Special envoy post may be reintroduced in Northern Ireland

Gary Hart
Gary Hart

By Cate McCurry

The appointment of a new US special envoy to Northern Ireland is not imminent, the Taoiseach has said.

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar said he and President Donald Trump had a "good chat" about the benefits of a special representative.

"Both of us thought it was a good idea so we talked about how that might work," Mr Varadkar said.

"I don't think it's something that's imminent, but the president was very interested to know how it would work and what the benefits might be." Speaking in the Oval Office about a special envoy, Mr Trump said he "may very well be doing that".

Successive envoys including Richard Haass and former senator Gary Hart have helped maintain US involvement in Northern Ireland's peace process.

Mr Hart's appointment lapsed when the Obama administration left power in 2017, and the position has not been filled by Mr Trump's team.

Influential Irish-Americans have been lobbying the Trump administration to restore the envoy post in a bid to help salvage the power-sharing government at Stormont.

Former senator George Mitchell was appointed as envoy in 1995, and chaired peace talks that ultimately led to the Good Friday Agreement over 20 years ago, in April 1998.

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