According to Niall O’Dowd, the decision by the US administration not to replace the last US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Paula Dobriansky, is to be regarded as “major boost for Northern Ireland”. His argument, such as it is, is that the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who may or may not visit NI in September, will take responsibility for the role. Which, as Secretary of State, she would have had anyway. There is, apparently, to be an economic envoy. At least we now know the result of Obama’s review.. [But what about that reported U-Turn? – Ed] As Brian said at the time, “Some things never change.” And as an Irish Echo report from last year recorded, noted here previously, “If he (Obama) wins, the operative word is detachment, [veteran Democratic activist Brian ODwyer] said.” He does, understandably, have other things on his mind. Update From the Irish Times
Informed sources told The Irish Times that Mrs Clinton has no plans to visit Ireland in early September, contrary to some news reports yesterday. A state department spokesman said yesterday he had no knowledge of any intention by Mrs Clinton to take on the role of special envoy. I have no indication about that at present other than that its a rumour, he said.