President Joe Biden is expected to name former congressman Joe Kennedy III as his special envoy to Northern Ireland for economic affairs, according to two people familiar with the plans, installing a member of one of the most famous political families in the United States in the post. Joined. a critical moment for the region.
The position has been vacant since Mick Mulvaney, also a former congressman and White House chief of staff, left office at the end of the Trump administration.
Biden is naming the former Massachusetts lawmaker at a time of Brexit-related tension in Northern Ireland, months before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday deal that ended decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.
The British government and the European Union have clashed over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which dictates cross-border trade rules between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Biden has been an active follower of the discussions and has pressured London and Brussels to reach an agreement that does not threaten the hard-fought peace in Northern Ireland. He has pressed the issue with the last three British prime ministers, including current leader Rishi Sunak, arguing that a deal must be reached before the anniversary of the Good Friday deal in April.
The role of US special envoy to Northern Ireland has been around for decades, ever since President Bill Clinton appointed Senator George Mitchell and helped broker the Good Friday deal.
Kennedy is expected to focus mainly on economic issues, not politics, although Northern Ireland has been without a fully functioning government for months.
He will be the third member of the Kennedy family to serve in a diplomatic post under Biden. Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, is Biden’s ambassador to Australia, and Victoria Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, is currently ambassador to Austria.