EU and UK finalize new Brexit deal – an ‘extraordinary achievement’ – Joe Kennedy

The new US special envoy for Northern Ireland has hailed the UK-EU efforts to complete the Windsor Framework Agreement as an “extraordinary achievement”.

Joe Kennedy III, who is a member of the Kennedy political dynasty, said his role was to seize economic opportunities for the region.

President Joe Biden told Mr Kennedy he wanted him to focus on economic rather than political issues in Northern Ireland when he appointed him to the position in December.

The 42-year-old former Democratic congressman filled the position that had been vacant since January 2021 after Donald Trump’s envoy, Mick Mulvaney, resigned from his post.

Mr. Kennedy is the grandson of former US Senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the great-nephew of former US President John F. Kennedy.

Speaking at a gala dinner in Washington DC, Mr. Kennedy called for a standing ovation for DCI John Caldwell, who is in critical condition in hospital after an attempt on his life.

He also offered his support to PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne, who was present at the event in the US capital, in the investigation into the force’s attempted murder.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Kennedy said he understood that all stakeholders in Northern Ireland wanted to assess what the Windsor framework for post-Brexit trade means to them.

“I think it is an extraordinary achievement by the UK Government and the European Union that they have had the stamina to continue to sit down and reach an agreement,” he said.

“Then the next stage in that process is everyone involved, not just elected officials, but everyone has to examine and assess it to try to understand what’s best for them, their families and Northern Ireland, and I think they are go through this process.”

The DUP, which is currently boycotting decentralization in Stormont in protest at post-Brexit trade deals for Northern Ireland, is considering whether to accept the Windsor framework and return to power-sharing.

Small business association round table

US President Joe Biden’s special envoy, Joe Kennedy (fourth from right) and Britain’s FSB political chair Tina McKenzie (third from right) at a business roundtable lunch in Washington DC (FSB/PA)

Mr Kennedy met with representatives of the main Stormont parties and Northern Ireland business leaders at a breakfast event in Washington DC this week.

“I am incredibly honored to serve in this position, to serve the administration but also to serve the people of Northern Ireland,” he said.

“The President has asked me to try to use the power of the American government to continue the bet on the people of Northern Ireland that the United States has been making for decades now.

“We believe in its people, we believe in their future, and what you see through the appointment and the attention and effort of engagement here is a belief that the future is bright and all we can do to help.” Supporting local efforts to improve conditions and build economic opportunity is what I hope.”

He described the breakfast meeting as “wonderful.”

“It was great to have so many people in the room, wonderful to have the chance to really have the heads of all parties, a large cross-section of leaders, elected officials, civil society leaders and business leaders committed to making that happen doing what we do can once again help the people of Northern Ireland build economic opportunity,” he said.


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