US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appointed an Irish business advisor as her government's economic envoy to Northern Ireland.
Declan Kelly, 41, was born in Portroe, Co Tipperary, and advised Mrs Clinton during her campaign for the presidency.
He is expected to visit Belfast tomorrow when he will meet business leaders. He will accompany the new US ambassador in London Louis Susman, US State Department sources confirmed.
Mr Kelly is a former vice-president of FTI, a global business consultancy.
His brother Alan secured himself a seat in the European Parliament elections in Ireland as the mid-west's Labour candidate.
Outside his business interests Mr Kelly serves on the boards of numerous philanthropic and community-based organisations which focus on Irish issues, including the American Ireland Fund.
He is also chairman of the US Foundation Board of NUI Galway, where he once studied.