White House Names
Ambassador to Ireland
By Matthew Skwiat, Contributing Editor
August / September 2014
The White House announced in June that the long-vacant post of ambassador to Ireland has been filled by Kevin O’Malley, a St. Louis Lawyer and political supporter of President Obama. This comes after the administration was scrutinized for leaving the position vacant for 18 months following the resignation of Dan Rooney in December 2012.
O’Malley is a respected trial lawyer and, according to the White House, a second-generation Irish American who is highly regarded in the St. Louis Irish community. The nomination does come as a shock to many in the Irish community given O’Malley’s low profile. Niall O’Dowd, founder of IrishCentral and co-founder of this publication, said of the nomination that “it was a complete surprise in the Irish-American community as he has not featured in any major Irish-American organizations.” But, O’Dowd acknowledged, “he is clearly well connected in the Democratic party locally and well respected in the legal profession.”
Commenting on the position Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and former envoy for Northern Ireland said “The biggest issue for the ambassador to Ireland is going to be the economy and helping the country dig out of a fiscal mess.”