Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ireland's new US ambassador Edward Crawford arrives in Ireland for duties

Ireland's new US ambassador Edward Crawford
Ireland's new US ambassador Edward Crawford
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

The new US ambassador to Ireland Edward Crawford touched  down in Dublin today to officially take up office.

The 81-year-old arrived with his wife Mary this morning and the couple will visit Áras an Uachtaráin on Monday where he will be formally welcomed by President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina. He will then present his credentials to President Higgins.

On Wednesday Mr. Crawford will host the annual July 4th Independence Day celebrations at his new residence in the Phoenix Park, which is expected to be attended by large mix of high-profile guests from the world of business, arts and culture as well of a number of politicians from all political parties.

Guests will be entertained at a garden cocktail reception, with music by a full swing band and a live fireworks display.

Crawford’s parents were Irish immigrants from Cork and travelled to the United States in the 1920s. His mother, Kate is believed to have originally hailed from Boherbue.

The son of an electrician, he worked his way up to become a self-made billionaire as Chairman and CEO of Park Ohio Holdings Corp. and The Crawford Group, both headquartered in Cleveland.

ParkOhio is a diversified industrial holdings firm that operates in sectors such as aerospace and defence, medical equipment, furniture, semiconductors, oil and gas, and consumer electronics.

It operates about 90 manufacturing, distribution and service facilities and employs roughly 6,000 people in the U.S., China, Japan, India, Australia and Ireland.

It generated sales of $1.7bn (€1.5bn) in 2018.

When appointed to the role of ambassador, Mr. Crawford retired from the board to officially take up his tenure in Ireland. Mr Crawford (81) was CEO at ParkOhio for 26 years and most recently its president.

In his downtime Mr. Crawford is a huge basketball fan and was once an avid basketball player, playing three times a week at the Cleveland Athletics Club.

The businessman has been closely involved in the Irish-American community in Cleveland, Ohio. Keeping with his Irish roots, he also created the Irish Cultural Garden in Cleveland and was also the first non-Mayo person to be named person of the year by the Mayo Association, which has a powerful presence in the Irish community in Cleveland.

In recent days Mr. Crawford was sworn into office by US Vice President Mike Pence who congratulated Mr. Crawford on his appointment and America’s special relationship with the Emerald Isle. “The friendship & alliance between the US & Ireland has been a cornerstone of peace, prosperity & freedom across the Atlantic,” he said. “On behalf of President Donald Trump, it was my honour to swear in the next US Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland Edward Crawford today.”

Meanwhile, ahead of his new role, the American entrepreneur has been keen to stress his desire to maintain a firm commitment to the Northern Ireland peace process.

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