The billionaire business executive had been Washington’s man in the Irish capital for just 15 months.
Egan, who is 67, cited “personal reasons” for leaving the job before returning to his home in Hopkinton, Mass. He has not elaborated on this explanation and has not spoken with reporters since arriving back in the U.S.
However, various reports have stated that Egan tendered his resignation to the Bush administration because he was frustrated with the limitations of his diplomatic job.
There were no indications that Egan had been asked to relinquish his Dublin post.
“He submitted his resignation and considers it an honor to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland,” a spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin said in a statement.
The Boston Globe reported that Egan had been frustrated by the many administrative duties he faced while being left out of important discussions about peace and jobs in Ireland.
“He felt he was doing a lot of things that weren’t as productive as they could have been and felt a little frustrated,” Roger Marino, who co-founded the EMC data storage company with Egan in 1979, told the Globe. “His capabilities to do good are endless, and yet he was in a nonproductive role.”
There were early indications that Egan, a man used to getting much of his own way in business, was finding the discipline of the diplomatic life a bit confining.
Last January, while on a visit to New York, Egan was asked if he was enjoying his posting in Dublin. His reply was brief and to the point.
“Not really,” he said.
Egan’s job in Dublin was shaped in large part by the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. and its aftermath.
He presented his credentials to President Mary McAleese on Sept. 10, 2001. The next day, Egan’s first full day on the job, disaster struck. The first sight that most Irish had of the new ambassador was of Egan reading notes attached to floral tributes left outside the U.S. embassy building.
During his term, Egan did not attain as high a profile as some of his recent predecessors, especially with regard to the Northern Ireland situation.
“During his short tenure [Egan] did not make the same impact as his immediate predecessors, Mr. Mike Sullivan and Ms. Jean Kennedy Smith,” the Irish Times said.
Egan did, however, create ripples, most notably in the British press, when he attended the Sinn F