New CIA chief plans to retire in Ireland once his term ends
Published 09/01/2013 | 05:00
John Brennan, whose family come from Co Roscommon, was this week nominated by US President Barack Obama to lead the CIA. The former counter-terrorism adviser paid an unplanned visit to these shores last November when he visited his Irish relations.
"He has visited Roscommon over the years and always calls in to see us when he's here," said his first cousin Patrick Diffley, who lives in Lecarrow, Co Roscommon.
"My mother Bridie is his father's sister and he always pays a visit. The trip in November was a flying visit. He had been in Paris and came over to see us all. We didn't know he was coming at all. That's the way he is."
During the trip the new CIA chief revealed how he one day hoped to settle here for good.
"He said to us that he wanted to retire here. He told us that if he got this post he'd do his term and then hopefully like to come home and settle here," added Mr Diffley.
Despite his role as a leading counter-terrorism official, to Mr Brennan's Irish family he is just a normal guy.
"He's a very normal person to talk to but he doesn't discuss his work at all. He dresses very normally and if he was walking down the street you wouldn't have a clue what he does. He seems different on TV.
"We were trying to get it out of him about the Bin Laden raid but he wasn't saying a word. He joked that we were like the Irish mafia," recalled Mr Diffley.
Mr Brennan has a number of first cousins still living in the Roscommon area, all of whom are extremely proud of his achievements.
During Mr Brennan's last trip home he invited Mr Diffley to visit him in the States.
"My son is over in Canada and we're going over to him in June. We're hoping we might get down to meet John and his family," explained Mr Diffley.
The new CIA chief is the son of Owen Brennan, from Kilteevan, Co Roscommon, who emigrated to America in the mid-1940s. Accepting Mr Obama's nomination on Monday, Mr Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, said it would be the "honour of my life" to serve as CIA director.