Senator Bob Menendez
By Ray O’Hanlon
The prospects of the appointment of a U.S. envoy to the Northern Ireland peace and political process has been boosted by the support for the idea from Senator Bob Menendez, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I support the appointment of an envoy to encourage continued implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. A lot of work remains and the U.S. should seek to play a constructive role, continuing the proud legacy started by Senator George Mitchell more than 20 years ago,” said Menendez in a release from his committee office.
Former congressman Bruce Morrison has indicated that he is ready to serve as envoy if asked. If chosen, Morrison would succeed the Trump administration’s Mick Mulvaney.
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Supporters of an envoy being named are expressing the view that the current post-Brexit flux and argument over land and sea borders requires such an appointment sooner rather than later.
The Irish Echo, in conjunction with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, has launched an online petition on change.org in an effort to speed up an envoy appointment.
“The creation of the U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland was a seminal milestone in reaching the historic Good Friday Agreement, which replaced three decades of unimaginable violence with two decades of undreamed-of peace,” said AOH National President Danny O’Connell.
“It is a shining example of U.S. action in the cause of peace. Sadly, two decades on, many of the items agreed to by the United Kingdom in signing the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent international treaties remain unfulfilled,” added O’Connell.
“The UK has consistently delayed and dissembled on its commitment to deal with the legacy issues of the Northern Ireland conflict. There is still no Bill of Rights for the community of Northern Ireland.
“Even something as inoffensive as parity of esteem for those who wish to express their identity through the Irish Language remains elusive. The Hibernians respectfully ask the President to appoint a Special Envoy who can bring the Good Friday Agreement’s noble vision to completion.”