The powerful American-Irish Legislators Society in Albany, NY, has rowed in behind the campaign to have President Biden appoint a peace and economic envoy to Northern Ireland.
Backed by the Irish Echo and the Ancient Order of Hibernians in the US, a petition pushing for the appointment has already won support from some of the most influential figures in Irish America.
Now Assemblyman Mike Cusick (above), President of the bipartisan Society which includes members from both the Assembly and Senate in Albany, has written to President Biden stressing that a Special Envoy could help ensure the peace gains over two decades are not lost.
"I write to express our support for the appointment of a Northern Ireland Peace and Economic Envoy at your earliest opportunity," says Assemblyman Cusick who is Chair of the Energy Committee in the Legislature.
"Irish Americans in our state are very excited about your election and know you are particularly knowledgeable about issues of concern to us both at home and in the Republic of Ireland and the North of Ireland," he adds.
"We are keenly aware of your understanding of the peace secured in the North of Ireland in the 1990’s with assistance from our Country. During the Brexit talks you showed your full support and said that the Good Friday Agreement could not be a 'casualty' of Brexit and that any trade agreement must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and prevent a return to a hard border."
Ensuring no return to the hard borders of the past is a key concern of the legislators, according to the Staten Island Assemblyman.
"Protecting the Good Friday Agreement to ensure there is no hard border between the North and the South is a priority for us. Therefore, the American Irish Legislators Society of New York State would be grateful if you can appoint a US envoy as soon as possible. Ensuring that the gains made over the last two decades remain in place is paramount."
Assemblyman Cusick who has visited Ireland several times, and travelled to Belfast to meet politicians and community leaders from all sides, says the Society looks forward to working with President Biden on US-Ireland relations in the time ahead.