U.S. Special Envoy Mick Mulvaney
By Irish Echo Staff
Northern Ireland can expect a visit from President Trump’s special envoy Mick Mulvaney as soon as it’s possible to travel again.
Mr. Mulvaney told the Irish Times that a key focus for him in the coming weeks is how the Covid-19 crisis will impact on Brexit.
The British government’s plan to deal with legacy issues from the Troubles, announced on March 18th, also promises to be a focus when normal life resumes, he said.
Mr Mulvaney, who was appointed by President Donald Trump in March, had been scheduled to make his first visit to Northern Ireland as U.S. special envoy in May. But the coronavirus pandemic has stalled that lan.
“I have been using the time to familiarize myself with the issues. Obviously, Covid-19 is the focus of everyone’s attention right now. It’s a very fluid situation,” he told the Irish Times from his home in South Carolina.
The former congressman and White House Chief of Staff said he would visit Northern Ireland “as soon as the door opens.”
Mulvaney, according to the Times report, has been communicating with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, and Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis.
He has also spoken to previous holders of the post, such as Richard Haass, chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations who was special envoy during the George W Bush administration..
Mr. Mulvaney (52) visited Northern Ireland in February. That was before he was appointed special envoy in early March.
He met with First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill and the permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office, Madeline Alessandri. He also met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and U.S. ambassador Ed Crawford, a Trump appointee, at Farmleigh House in Dublin.
Brexit, not surprisingly has taken something of a back seat to the Covid-19 pandemic. The negotiations for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU are supposed to conclude by the end of they year though the EU has been strongly suggesting that the British government should extend the period of negotiation.
A number of Irish American activists and organizations have been expressing concern over Brexit’s future affects on the Good Friday Agreement, the overall peace and political process and the nature of the border on the island of Ireland after Northern Ireland is taken out of the EU, this against the wishes of a majority of voters there.