Declan Kelly US economic envoy to NI

What to make of the news that Declan Kelly has been appointed as the US economic envoy to Northern Ireland? Well, apparently it’s not significant enough to merit a statement from the US Secretary of State. From what I can tell, it was announced via Niall O’Dowd’s Irish Voice website – where O’Dowd continues to suggest, albeit now in a minor key, that this is an upgrade in status for NI and is predicting an October visit by Hillary Clinton. But, as Máirtín points out, Declan Kelly was another “Irish American for Hillary” and hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton in Ireland in 2007, securing an estimated $200,000. Change, indeed. But what is his actual role? [To keep off the grass? – Ed] From the Irish Times report

Mr Kelly, a former journalist who has enjoyed a successful business career in the US, is accompanying the new American ambassador in London Louis Susman to Belfast today where they will meet local business leaders. He is a brother of Alan Kelly, who won a seat for Labour in Munster in the recent European Parliament elections. He is a former vice-president of FTI, a global business consultancy which employs 3,500 people. He also serves on the American Ireland Fund and is chairman of the US Foundation Board of NUI Galway, where he once studied.

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  • Q: But what is his actual role?

    A: US economic envoy to Northern Ireland.

    Therefore he was appointed, by the US administration, to The Sick Counties as it’s an economic wasteland largely ignored (especially West of the Bann) by Westminister and Stormont.

    The USA is the largest investor in Ireland and therefore it’s beneficial to the NI economy that they’re baby-sat thro economic dealing with their largest benefactor. Declan Kelly is the baby sitter.

    He’ll also develop ‘relationships’ with the pathetic politico and can report about these back to Hil Clinton.

    They say a good sign of the performace of an individual in a divided society would be that he’s disliked by both side – I’d guess that’ll be easily achieved. Unionist will hate taking orders from a Tipp-man while the Shinners will be vary of his Labour connections.

  • joeCanuck

    On a related story, Sammy Wilson has been having discussions with his Southern counterpart.
    The shame of it; a unionist Minister talking to Fenians.

  • Greenflag

    Julia Paul’s report on Hearts & Minds the other day basically said it all . There is no wriggle room .

    Sammy Wilson is stuck between a rock and a hard place and frankly the same is true of all NI parties . Given the relatively small size of the NI private sector in relation to the NI economy where can the money be found to continue the current level of public expenditure ?

    SF have decided they are not interested in ‘managing ‘ the NI economy ? Perhaps they’ve chosen the wisest course in the short term for there is hardly an economy to manage anyway merely the redistribution of Exchequer funds of which 6 billion is subvention from Westminster .

    Keynesianism is back at least in terms of government money being necessary to prime pump the economy. With unemployment rising , business investment low , self governing confidence sapped and property prices plunging the outlook could not be much bleaker for the power sharing administration .

    Sammy Wilson is right in his point re longer term objective of on growth in the private sector being necessary and indeed critical to exit the self imposed economic cul de sac that is the NI public sector dominated NI regional economy .

    The problem Sammy has or indeed anybody else in his place would have be they SDLP or SF or UUP or AP is how to get to that objective from here ?

    The restrictions are not just economic , imposed externally from the UK ‘s malaise in the current world economic crisis or the Republic’s recession but they are also political .i.e having to share power with a party that is not just pro public sector but wants even more .The current coalition can only hope to hang on long enough so that any world recovery will lift the small boat that is the NI economy . Across the border in Dublin Mr Cowen is of the same mind but perhaps I say perhaps has a little more time to hope ?

    The political will in NI is thus lacking for any radical departure , and the line of least resistance will be followed – Both the DUP and SF may not fear electoral consequences given the inability of any potential opposition to offer a better alternative than the current ‘holding ‘ the fort ? ‘Divided we stand’ policy

    Just as well both parties have Westminster backing them up financially for now otherwise the sound of gunfire may not be as far off as people might want to hope .

    As for Mr Kelly’s role ? It’s difficult in present circumstances to see how much he can help.

    Can’t do any harm either . At this stage it’s probably impossible to do nay more harm than has already been done to a regional economy buttressed by an almost 70% public sector underpinning for the past two decades or more .

    Good luck to Sammy . As long as he remembers that markets are always efficient in their pricing he won’t fall flat on his equity eh ;)?

  • frustrated democrat

    All others may be powerless but hopefully after the Westminster election a major change will be seen in how NI is governed and how its economy will be run if the Conservatives get into power.

  • talon

    Joe you know Sammy, he is the renagade in the group.While everyone is out trying to distroy North south relations he’s off on a lark.This might turn out beneficial and they might have to cancell it.

    Mr Greenflag what came first efficiency or equity? neither they were both killed off long before they got started.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “major change will be seen in how NI is governed ”

    Pray do tell – could you enlighten us with one practical thing i.e. something resembling a policy promise/prediction, that will be transalted into something people living in the real world could actually experience?

    re. Envoy.

    Good news – sounds like a reasonable sort of chap and hopefully Hilary will-come-a-visiting.

  • John O’Connell

    Glad to see an envoy educated at NUI Galway. He must have been there just after my time studying there.

  • Thereyouarenow

    Reply to number (4) Frustrated Democrat

    Advise the largely English Conservative party to tread very carefully in the North of Ireland.

    Those that ignore the mistakes of the past may be doomed to repeat them in the future.

  • frustrated democrat


    We had that policy discussion many months ago I don’t think it hasn’t changed and I expect there will be no more information on either devolved or non devolved policies until an election is imminent.

    There you are now

    Remember there are senior Conservative NI policy people now who are locals and their UUP partners here would never go for any policy that jarred with the electorate. Therefore there is no chance of the mistakes of the past being repeated.

  • james O’Brien

    Peter you censored my last comment –what is the problem you and Stanage said there would be no envoy –now there is one –you and Stanage said Hillary would not make N.I t a priority now she’ll be the first Sec of State to visit Northern Ireland since the Bill Clinton administration — what to make of it Peter ? Easy — You were dead wrong Peter–or will you try and censor again?

  • Pete Baker


    “Peter you censored my last comment”


    As for the rest of your assertions…

    Pay attention to the detail.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Frustrated Democrat,

    re “will be no more information on either devolved or non devolved policies until an election is imminent”

    Get you arse over to the other thread where your party has just joined siganlled it has joined the anti-agreement alliance with the TUV – I suppose if you are going to get it wrong you may as well get it completely wrong.

  • Davros

    Anyone know what Trimble’s cooking up in Westminster?

  • Greenflag

    frustrated democrat ,

    ‘but hopefully after the Westminster election a major change will be seen in how NI is governed and how its economy will be run if the Conservatives get into power.’

    The name of that ship FD is ‘Abandon Hope ‘ . There won’t be any change in how NI is governed until the Assembly collapses and even then any new format will be the same again . The Tories will not be reliant on NI votes or seats most likely .

    As for how the economy will be run ? Thatcher lite I’d guess with NI continuing to benefit from higher public spending per capita than other regions .

    ‘Therefore there is no chance of the mistakes of the past being repeated.’

    There is every chance . The Tories in Ireland have a long record of ‘screwing up’ .It’s only natural . Their primary concern has been and always will be the ‘interests’ of that part of England south of a line from the Wash to Bristol .

    Northern Ireland will continue to be fed with a long spoon despite the current hype among new found ‘blue ‘ unionists who see the Conservatives as their saviour?

    1972 come again deja vu at best .At worst a return to even greater levels of sectarian violence 🙁