“A special envoy continues to be vital and necessary”

In comparison with the Irish Voice editorial I noted yesterday, in today’s Irish Times Niall O’Dowd dials down, somewhat, the ad hominem approach in another response to Niall Stanage’s article. He’s repeating his claim that the US administration’s non-appointment of a political envoy to Northern Ireland is actually “a huge step up” – rather than NI simply becoming another issue within the normal remit of the US Secretary of State. An issue that the US Secretary of State, herself, says is “really up to the parties themselves, and certainly in consultation with the British Government and, to a lesser extent, the Irish government”. I guess Niall O’Dowd will definitely not be joining Máirtín’s media rumpus then. But, to repeat myself, the key to understanding the previous mis-briefings is that this represents a climb-down by Hillary Clinton from her previously stated position noted by Brian, and an acceptance of the position as stated by Barack Obama [pdf file] – “that the crisis period for Northern Ireland has passed and that the people of Northern Ireland are now in charge of their own destiny” – which caused such outrage at the time amongst certain Irish-American lobbyists. In particular, the Clinton-supporting Niall O’Dowd.

Irish Voice publisher Niall O’Dowd, who supported Mrs Clinton in the Democratic primaries, said the statement was unclear but warned that any weakening of US input in the North would be “completely unacceptable” to Irish-Americans. “A special envoy continues to be vital and necessary,” he said. “Wholehearted American support and involvement will also be vital in resolving the upcoming issues of policing and devolution.”

, , , ,

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I think O’Dowd looks like an idiot in this whole affair. Now he’s backtracking.

    Look at how he has changed his definition of a ‘special envoy’ to NI. In the quote above “A special envoy continues to be vital and necessary,” he said back then, implying – correctly – that there had been a continuity of envoys for some time, the last being Dobriansky.

    But when Obama abolished the post, thus taking away Northern Ireland’s ‘special’ status, it moved from the State Department to just another country under the remit of the Secretary of State (ie Hillary). Hillary and O’Dowd seem to have colluded to spin this as a ‘promotion’ for Northern Ireland, when in fact the opposite is the case.

    O’Dowd stated Clinton is expected to personally handle the role of “peace envoy” to Ireland. Clearly she is not, although Ireland is within her remit – like dozens of other countries.

    O’Dowd then re-defines the role again: “There has never been a full-time envoy since George Mitchell nor is there ever likely to be one and no one has ever called for one.”

    But no-one ever mentioned a ‘full-time’ envoy! It’s a straw man, face-saving argument that won’t fool too many.

    What O’Dowd was calling for was another Dobriansky, Haass or Reiss. And Obama says no; and now that someone has sat Hillary down and talked her through it, so does she. Though I’m sure she’ll come to a women’s conference during her tenure, thus securing peace here once again before taking off in an Apache as RIRA surface-to-air missiles whizz past, just like that time in, where was it…?

    Peace envoys, special envoys and full-time envoys. Oh, yes, the economic envoy. Because that sounds reeeeeaaaallly major like, and not tokenism at all, no siree.

    When in a hole, Mr O’Dowd, quit digging. The bullshitometer is going off the scale.

  • Patrick egan

    belfast gonzo , you could not be more wrong.Stanage has no credibility inIirshAmerica since he aligned himself with Trina –I’m the onlyone who knows what Irish Ameirca is– vargo claimed that there would be no envoy — there will –Hillary herself will undertake the political and an economic envoy will be appointed — by the way which is where George Mitchell started. Stanage has been caught out very badly allowing his hatred of Irish america and his upper class unionist background to overcome the reality — that Hillary herself will handle NorthenrIreland — and appoint an economic envoy. Any other intrepretaton is just unionist nonsense which you regualarly spout.You guys lost the argument many years ago whwn otuwanted only Brits to adminsiter Northern Ireland. The Americans are not going away you know–and the Briths will get out firstchance they get

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Hi Patrick

    Someone has no credibility, but it’s not Stanage. In fact, I didn’t mention him once – I don’t need his analysis to see how O’Dowd has fluffed his story. O’Dowd’s stories are enough.

    O’Dowd said: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to personally handle the role of peace envoy to Ireland, the Irish Voice and IrishCentral have learned.”

    Except she won’t be the ‘peace’ envoy, and that was the entire basis of O’Dowd’s article. There is no ‘peace’ envoy. Of course Ireland will be handled by Hillary now; right after North Korea, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Mexico, Russia, Iran, Iraq…

    Unionism has nothing to do with it, even if I was a unionist, although I imagine they are probably very happy with US involvement over the past few years. I think the level Obama has now pitched for NI is about right – it’s clearly pretty low on his horizon. He and Hillary have bigger issues to be concerned with.

    But that’s cool, and I can’t imagine too many people getting upset on this side of the pond. Why some people can’t handle the fact that NI is becoming more stable is just weird – it’s almost like some depend on the Troubles for their status and can’t deal with their decreasing importance in these quieter times.

    But I imagine there’ll be a few platitudes handed out from Hillary when the economic envoy is appointed, just to keep the O’Dowds of this world on board.

  • borderline

    Spot on BG.

    I never knew that Stanage was a unionist, upper-class or otherwise. So what? He wrote an interesting article, and since then we’ve been told to ignore it because, for the most part, he’s a unionist. Seems to be a well-informed one.