Tags: Barack Obama | Ireland | ambassador | Tom Carnahan | White House | St. Patricks Day

Irish Puzzled, Angry Over Lack Of US Ambassador

Image: Irish Puzzled, Angry Over Lack Of US Ambassador President Barack Obama meets with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office of the White House on March 14.

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 11:01 AM

By Courtney Coren

Ireland has gone without a U.S. ambassador since December 2012, the longest period between envoys since 1927. Irish eyes are not smiling.

"It's almost scandalous," Brian O'Dwyer, chairman of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, told The New York Times.

The White House says it will announce a nominee soon and that it is in the process of "finalizing" the candidate, according to the newspaper.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny will be at the White House Friday before heading to a lunch on Capital Hill with President Barack Obama in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

The lack of an ambassador is expected to be a topic of conversation between the two heads of state. There also will be a reception back at the White House with Kenny at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

According to IrishCentral.com, it was assumed a new ambassador would be announced during Friday's festivities, but that does not appear to be the case.

"I have stopped asking about it," one Dublin official told IrishCentral. "We have no idea why the post is not filled."

"It's never good when you don't have an ambassador, simply because it sends a bad signal," Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Times. "It's often interpreted as a sign that the country is not a priority."

St. Louis businessman Tom Carnahan is one of the possible candidates. His father, Mel Carnahan, served as Missouri governor and died in a plane crash in 2000 when he was running for Senate. The businessman's mother, Jean, served in his place after Mel Carnahan was elected posthumously.

According to IrishCentral.com, Tom Carnahan sold his wind energy company to an Irish company and has visited Ireland frequently.

"We understand the urgency of having an ambassador in Dublin," Laura Lucas Magnuson, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told the Times.

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