New US envoy sworn in

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A new US Special Envoy to the north of Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, has been sworn into office. Mr Mulvaney is an Irish-American with family roots in County Mayo.

Mr Mulvaney, the former acting White House Chief of Staff, said he officially became envoy in recent days following a virtual swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

“I was sworn-in on Friday and immediately started burying myself in the background work that comes with the job. The State Department as well as folks in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and London have all sent me material to read,” he said.

US President Donald Trump announced in early March that he was appointing Mr Mulvaney to the role of US Special Envoy, a position that had been vacant since Mr Trump took office. It had been a long-standing request from Irish America and continues a sequence of appointments dating back to the influential Senator George Mitchell, who was appointed by former US President Bill Clinton.

Sinn Féin welcomed the appointment and commended those who had campaigned for it. Party leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said: “I welcome the appointment of Mr Mulvaney as we face the challenges of COVID-19, Brexit and ensuring that all our agreements are respected and implemented.

“The United States and successive administrations have been great friends of Ireland, partners in peace building and guarantors of our Agreements.

“The role of Special Envoy has been central to reaching and safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements, as we navigate our way from a past of conflict to a peaceful, prosperous, reconciled and united future.”

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