Donnybrook: United States Special Envoy to Northern Ireland
By John Myers
President Biden has appointed the grandson of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy III, to be the United States Special Envoy to the North of Ireland. Kennedy, 42, most recently served as a member of Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Kennedy took a hefty risk and left his safe house seat to run in the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary, losing to incumbent Sen. Ed Markey in a close campaign, earning the unwelcome distinction of being the only Kennedy to lose an election in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His Father, Joseph P. Kennedy II and his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, served in the House of Representatives from Massachusetts as well.
His Cousin, Patrick Kennedy (Sen. Ted’s son), served in the U.S. House from Rhode Island. And, of course, his three uncles, Jack, Bobby and Ted, served in the U.S. Senate.
Joe will be joining other family members in diplomatic public service, notably his grandfather and namesake, Joseph P. Kennedy, who was FDR’s Pre-War Ambassador to the Court of St. James (United Kingdom); and his aunt, Jean Kennedy Smith, was President Clinton’s Ambassador to Ireland in the lead up to the 1998 Good Friday Accord.
President Biden’s Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, announced: “Today we are announcing the appointment of Joe Kennedy III as the U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs. In this capacity, he will focus on advancing economic development and investment opportunities in Northern Ireland to the benefit of all communities, as well as strengthening people-to-people ties between the United States and Northern Ireland. His role builds on the long-standing U.S. commitment to supporting peace, prosperity, and stability in Northern Ireland and the peace dividends of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
Joe has dedicated his career to public service, including eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives, tenure as Massachusetts Assistant District Attorney, and service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He will draw from his extensive experience to support economic growth in Northern Ireland and to deepen U.S. engagement with all communities.
“In parallel, U.S. diplomats in Europe and Washington will continue to engage with political leaders on efforts to restore the Northern Ireland Executive and to resolve differences on the Northern Ireland Protocol.”
AOH National President Danny O’Connell offered the following statement of support: “The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish American organization in the United States, welcomes the appointment of Joseph P. Kennedy III to the role of U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland. In selecting a former U.S. Congressman, who is the son of a congressman, grandson of a U.S. Senator, and great nephew of a U.S. President, the President has clearly shown the importance that the administration places on the role of the U.S. Special Envoy, sending a clear message of the on-going U.S. commitment to the peace and prosperity of the community of Northern Ireland.
“We note that it was the Congressman’s father, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, who introduced H.Con.Res.49 in 1993 calling for the establishment of a Special Envoy to Northern Ireland. We thank President Biden for appointing a highly qualified candidate and sending a clear message on U.S. interest in Northern Ireland and its continuing progress to lasting peace with justice.”
Wigs on the Green
This would be an apt description of the current battle royale in the usually staid halls of Buckingham Palace. It may not have dawned on American actress Megan Markle until after the royal fairy dust settled from her $40 million dollar wedding to Prince Harry that HER Prince was only sixth in line to the Windsor Throne, even after the death of England’s longest service monarch, Queen Elizabeth of the Royal Germanic family line of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Harry may not have shared that he had a greater chance of ascending to the throne of his grandfather, Phillip Battenberg’s (later anglicized to Mountbatten), claim to the Germanic Scholosrg-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg throne in Denmark or Greece than to anything at Windsor Castle.
But all’s well that ends well. Harry and Megan were worn out trying to get by on the ‘salary’ of a mere public servant, but soon realized that ascending to the role of The Royal Kardashians was where the true hard cash lay. The Windsor family cult was much more bankable than the threadbare thrones of Denmark or Greece.
The inheritance from Harry’s mother’s addiction to celebrity and revelatory leaks to the Fleet Street Press was much more lucrative than the dreary and dodgy lifestyle of a mere back bench Royale. Just like Jed Clampett, “folks said: move away from there, Californy is the place you ought to be, so they loaded up the truck (Gulfstream IV) and they moved to Beverly, … Hills that is, swimmin’ pools and movie stars.”
Yes, we are expected to accept the yarn that they moved to Hollywood to escape gossip and the limelight (lol). But it was much easier to take lunch on Rodeo Drive with Netflix executives who reportedly paid the Royal Kardashians $100 million for their time, and easier for Harry to share some spa time with the publishers, who reportedly paid him a $40 million dollar advance for his ghost-written memoire, “Spare”, the fastest selling book in U.K. history.
The royalties will likely be on top of the $40M. All good, since they will not have their Royal salary anymore, and they could pay cash for their $14.65 million Santa Barbara Mansion and avoid a mortgage.
The couple reportedly feel very much at home, as their “dear friends” Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah, live just around the corner. Curious to know if Harry, as an immigrant, had to stand in line to get a green card to do all this work in the good ol’ U.S.A.?
Additionally, Megan and Harry claimed they moved to sunny California for security reasons, but many are suggesting that Harry, offering details that he had killed twenty-five Taliban while in uniform in Afghanistan, in his book exposes the Royal Kardashians to retaliation from some nasty folks with crazed, armed adherents looking for missions of martyrdom.
Of course, coming at high prices, but Brexit, the death of QEII, the lower popularity of Chuck and Cam (what is a ‘Consort’ anyway?), the loss of any mystery revealed through the tv series, The Crown, and now this Battle Royale, will only further beg the question of Loyalists in the North of Ireland: What are you being loyal too? Time to go; long live the Republic.
Back to the Future
Its back to the future in the Irish Republic; true to the two historic Treaty Parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael’s 2020 agreement, FF Taoiseach Micheál Martin has handed off the role of Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Dublin coalition government to Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar. Varadkar, was previously Taoiseach from 2017 to 2020.
Varadkar formed a coalition government with archrival Fianna Fáil party in 2020, with the understanding that Martin would be the Taoiseach the first two years and Varadkar the second two years. Given the agreed nature of the change of leadership, no remarkable changes in government are expected.
Irish Times columnist Breda O’Brien recently wrote, “Our two major political parties are virtually indistinguishable on every large issue. A self-satisfied certainty that all right-thinking people think exactly alike prevails. There are minor differences between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael but even the most devoted party hack would be hard-pressed to find significant ideological differences.”
Varadkar, Ireland’s first multi-racial Taoiseach and first openly gay Taoiseach, worked for much of his career as a doctor. Waiting in the wings is Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald. Time will tell if this reconstituted coalition government lasts its full two remain years. Regardless, sooner or later, Sinn Fein is well positioned to challenge the status quo.
While it is Groundhog Day in the North of Ireland, the continued stalemate has kept the Northern Ireland Assembly from meeting, due to Loyalists boycott of the legislature. Loyalists continue to boycott the Assembly until they see an end to the Northern Ireland Protocol (Irish Sea Border issue). The new year did not get off to a hopeful start when British Foreign Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary excluded Sinn Fein from negotiations.
Sinn Fein offered the following statement: “In an extraordinary turn of events last night, we were informed that the British government is excluding the Sinn Féin Uachtarán and party leader Mary Lou McDonald from today’s meeting … This is a time for inclusion, dialogue and engagement. There is serious and urgent work to be done. This is a time for mature and civil politics. There’s no room for bad faith and petulance from the British government.”