Gridlock in Congress delays US envoy's selection
NEAR gridlock in the US Congress has delayed the appointment of the country's ambassador to Ireland.
Kevin O'Malley, pictured, a Missouri lawyer, was expected to be confirmed as ambassador by the Senate on Thursday.
However, it now appears it will be significantly delayed.
He would have been expected to arrive here within days to take up a post vacant for more than a year and half. But it, and other diplomatic appointments, were held up by a spat over the confirmation of the ambassador to Russia.
The Senate is now on a break for five weeks, with no date set for the confirmation of the other ambassadors.
In Washington, Ireland is seen as one of the more important unfilled diplomatic posts, this despite President Barack Obama failing for so long to name a replacement for Dan Rooney, who stepped down in December 2012.
This is not least because Ireland and its tax system, so attractive to US multinationals, is front and centre of a debate over corporate taxation.
President Obama criticised those companies that become "magically Irish", where large US-based companies are, nominally for tax purposes, taken over by smaller Irish ones.