By Jack Holland
Sean O’Huiginn, Ireland’s U.S. ambassador and a key figure in the early stages of the Northern Ireland peace process, will be going to Berlin to take up the ambassador’s post there, it was announced on Tuesday.
O’Huiginn has been in the Washington post, regarded as the most prestigious in the diplomatic circuit, for five years. He came to Washington after a long and deep involvement in the unfolding of the peace process. His reputation as a trenchant negotiator preceded him and he was dubbed “The Dark Prince” by his British counter-parts.
Following the IRA cease-fire of Aug. 31, 1994, O’Huiginn was responsible for helping to frame the Irish government’s response to the new situation. His contribution was seen in a series of major statement’s and policy positions, including The Framework Document of early 1995. The document stressed the three strands of a potential settlement — consent of the majority in Northern Ireland before constitutional change, devolved power-sharing government in Belfast, and a cross-border institution with a dynamic for change. It is seen by most observers as having laid the foundations for the current agreement.
It was also announced that the Irish ambassador to Berlin, Noel Fahy, is transferring to Washington. Among the other appointments was that of Gerard Corr, currently in the Irish Mission to the UN, who will become Irish ambassador to South Africa.