US/Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

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Employment.png US/Special Envoy for Northern Ireland 

U.S. diplomat supporting the Northern Ireland peace process.

The United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland (officially the Special Envoy of the President and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) is the top U.S. diplomat supporting the Northern Ireland peace process.[1]


Before the 1980s, U.S. leaders were reluctant to get involved in the Troubles in Northern Ireland. When Bill Clinton was on the campaign trail as the Democratic candidate for President in 1992, he suggested both orally and in a letter to Congressman Bruce Morrison that he would favor the appointment of a Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.[2]

It was not until 1995 that a decision to appoint a Special Envoy was finally made. The announcement of the appointment of former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell as Special Envoy initially "infuriated" the British Government.[3] Mitchell was recognised as being more than a token envoy but someone representing a President with a deep interest in events.[3] However, around the time of Mitchell's appointment, it was agreed with both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Major and Taoiseach John Bruton that Mitchell would chair an international commission on disarmament of paramilitary groups.[4] Mitchell went on to successfully chair the talks that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement.

Later envoys

The United States has continued to support the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and has demonstrated its readiness to assist the process in any way.[5] On June 10, 2003, President George W. Bush announced his intention to designate Ambassador Richard N. Haass as the Special Envoy.[5] Haass was an active Envoy. In 2001, within a week of the September 11 attacks, Haass warned Irish Republicans that the suspected links between the IRA and Colombian terrorist groups could have "potentially serious consequences for the role of the United States in the peace process".[3] Later, Haass attacked then Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble for setting a deadline for pulling out of power-sharing, accusing him of adding to a sense of crisis.[3]

Later, Mitchell Reiss was appointed as the Special Envoy. At the invitation of the British and Irish governments, Reiss participated in the peace process negotiations that took place at Leeds Castle in 2004.[6] On February 15, 2007, Paula Dobriansky, U.S. Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the State Department, was named the Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.[7] The transition from the former Special Envoy, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, took place on February 15, 2007.[8] In February 2008, Special Envoy Dobriansky led a trade mission to Belfast.[9] Until the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Special Envoy was former Colorado Senator, Gary Hart. On March 6, 2020, President Trump appointed his former acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to fill this position.

Each of the Special Envoys has periodically reported to U.S. Congressional committees on their activities and the status of the Northern Ireland peace process and other matters concerning Northern Ireland.[1][10][11]


Office Holders on Wikispooks

Mick Mulvaney20202021
Gary Hart22 October 201420 January 2017
Paula Dobriansky20072009
Richard Haass6 February 200120 June 2003
George Mitchell3 January 199520 January 2001
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