Trevor Ringland appointed NI special envoy to US

Posted By: June 06, 2021


Trevor Ringland, the former rugby international, will be responsible for promoting NI interests across the US


BBCNI. Belfast. Sunday, June 6, 2021


Former Ireland rugby player Trevor Ringland has been appointed as the UK’s first special envoy to the United States on Northern Ireland.


The appointment was announced by Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis with the aim of strengthening ties between the two nations.


The move has been welcomed by Ulster Unionists and the Democratic Unionists.


Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin, said the appointment was “arrogant and disrespectful”.


As special envoy, Mr. Ringland who is a solicitor will work with US firms and investors with an interest in Northern Ireland, to build on established links and support Northern Ireland’s long-term economic development.


Mr. Lewis said the creation of the post reflected “the UK government’s enduring commitment to the peace, prosperity, and stability of Northern Ireland”.



“This is an exciting new appointment and recognizes Northern Ireland’s unique relationship with the United States and its people,” he said.


Mr. Ringland is a former member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) who stood as a candidate in East Belfast in the 2010 general election on a joint UUP-Conservative ticket.


He later left the UUP and joined the Conservatives, becoming vice-chair of the party in Northern Ireland.


First Minister Arlene Foster said in a tweet that she wished Mr. Ringland “every success in this new role”.


“I hope he can help some in the US understand better the views of people in NI and our place within the UK,” she said.


Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie said the creation of the role will provide “fantastic opportunities”.


“Trevor has a unique understanding of relationships across communities and business in Northern Ireland,” he said.


“He is a strong advocate for the union and unionism that is all-encompassing and reaches out across the divide.


‘Tory interference’

“Northern Ireland has so many links with the United States – socially, historically, culturally, and economically – and I am delighted that we will now be making more of the opportunities that those links provide.”


But Ms. O’Neill criticized the move.


“Mr. Lewis’ decision to unilaterally make such an appointment directly relating to the north’s interests and priorities without consulting the democratically-mandated executive smacks of Tory arrogance and disrespect,” she said.


She said the NI Executive’s “permanent diplomatic mission” based in Washington DC “has proven to be effective and we do not need interference from the Tories in how we engage with the US administration, Congress, or the Irish-American community”.