Joe Kennedy to be named special envoy to Northern Ireland by Biden

Biden gives ANOTHER Kennedy a job: Will make Joe Kennedy, 42, special envoy to Northern Ireland after making Caroline Kennedy ambassador to Australia

  • President Joe Biden is expected to name Robert Kennedy’s grandson as special envoy to Northern Ireland 
  • Joe Kennedy III will become the third member of America’s most famous Irish-American political dynasty to have a foreign ambassadorial role 
  • His aunt and, lawyer and widow of Ted Kennedy, Victoria, is the ambassador to Austria while JFK’s daughter, Caroline, is the ambassador to Australia
  • The former Massachusetts’ congressman’s appointment comes at a fraught time in US relations with the UK over Northern Ireland 
  • President Biden has been adamant that the UK must honor the Northern Ireland protocols and not establish a hard border between the north and Republic of Ireland

President Joe Biden will name Robert Kennedy’s grandson and former Massachusetts’ congressman Joe Kennedy as the administration’s special envoy to Northern Ireland. 

This makes Kennedy, 42, the third member of America’s most famous Irish-American political dynasty to be given a diplomatic position by Biden. 

He joins his aunt and Ted Kennedy’s widow and lawyer, Victoria, 68, who the ambassador to Austria and cousin, John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline, 65, the ambassador to Australia, in the diplomatic corps. 

According to multiple reports, Joe Kennedy III will take up the position before the new year. Any diplomatic appointment after January 3, 2023, will need to be ratified by the US Senate, per new rules. That ratification could take months. 

President Biden and former Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III pictured together on St. Patrick’s Day 2016

Kennedy will be stepping into the job at a crucial time as US relations with the UK are frosty as a result of the unresolved Northern Ireland protocols.

The role of special envoy has been vacant since Donald Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigned from the role following the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a government source said that Kennedy’s role will be less political and more focused on economic issues. 

That source told WSJ: ‘He will be very much focused on advancing US economic engagement and people to people ties.’

The New York Times meanwhile reports that Kennedy’s appointment has been in the making for months and it is hoped that the former congressman’s legacy will re-energize US relations in Ireland.  

Victoria Kennedy, the designated Austrian Ambassador from the United States, is the widow of former Massachusetts’ Senator Ted Kennedy, Joe Kennedy III’s uncle

The US Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of JFK, pictured in Boston in September 2022 alongside President Biden

The protocol, which allows free trade across the Irish border, was initially established in 2019 in order to maintain previous peace agreements in the wake of Brexit. It has been a source of contention between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Special envoys have been sent to Northern Ireland by various administrations since the 1995. Among those who helped to establish the role was Kennedy’s father, Joe Kennedy II. 

The first envoy was former Maine Senator George Mitchell who helped to broker the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The reason for holding off on announcing Kennedy’s appointment was because of Biden’s hope that the UK and EU would establish a concrete agreement regarding the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland. 

Biden is expected to make a visit to the embattled nation this year as part of 25th anniversary celebrations of the Good Friday Agreement.  

Biden is the second Catholic president in US history, the first was John F. Kennedy. During his tenure as a senator for Delaware, Biden was known to be close to Ted Kennedy, who served as Massachusetts senator between 1962 and 2009.

Kennedy is the grandson of RFK, who was killed in 1968 while on the campaign trail for the Democratic nomination for the presidency by Muslim gunman Sirhan Sirhan

Kennedy is the grandson of RFK, who was killed in 1968 while on the campaign trail for the Democratic nomination for the presidency by Muslim gunman Sirhan Sirhan. 

Between 2013 and 2021, Kennedy represented Massachusetts, leaving his position in order to challenge the state’s sitting Democratic senator Ed Markey for the party nomination. Following that failure, he has been largely out of the public eye, despite some appearances a commentator on CNN. 

His work has largely been behind the scenes with the Groundwork Project, a group that seeks to ‘build sustainable political infrastructure, engage and educate voters, and build power for the underrepresented and disenfranchised,’ according to the group’s website. 

In his farewell speech to Congress, Kennedy used his time to  deride the ‘great lie of our times’ that the government lacks the resources and will to help people in need. He said the real problem is greed, not scarcity.

Speaking for five minutes on the House floor, Kennedy, D-Mass., called his four terms in Congress an honor and said he was departing ‘proud and hopeful.’

He described the US as a ‘complicated and messy country.’ He said it had ‘violated our founding promises before the ink was dry,’ citing slavery and rights that initially applied largely to ‘rich, white and Protestant men.’ 

But without mentioning names or political parties, he called that progress ‘the counterweight to the great lie of our times: that the American pie is finite. 

‘That for my family to survive, yours must suffer. 

‘That the richest nation on Earth is somehow plagued by scarcity — rather than greed.’

He added, ‘Loosening that lie’s grip on our country is the work of our generation. 

‘For the people who feel unseen, unheard and unpresented. For those most in need of assistance and protection, justice and opportunity, who have been told by their government that there is just no room or money or time or will. 

‘And that injustice is a reality etched in stone, rather than a deliberate choice by those in power, about who is worthy and who is not.’

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