By Cate McCurry, PA
Former Ireland rugby player Trevor Ringland has been appointed as a special envoy to the United States in Northern Ireland.
The solicitor and community activist will be the first special envoy to promote the North across the US administration, Congress and within the Irish American community.
As special envoy, Mr Ringland will also be tasked to work with US firms and investors with an interest in Northern Ireland.
Mr Ringland said he was honoured to take up the role.
Secretary of State @BrandonLewis has announced Trevor Ringland MBE as the UK’s first Special Envoy to the United States on NI. He will promote local interests, drive inward investment & build further close ties between our two nations 🇬🇧🇺🇸
— Northern Ireland Office (@NIOgov) June 6, 2021
“I very much look forward to supporting the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in ensuring the UK government’s policies on Northern Ireland are well represented to US audiences and playing my part in forging deeper political, social and economic ties between our two countries,” he said.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “I am delighted that Trevor has accepted my invitation to take up this position to represent the UK government in Northern Ireland, working to support its best interests in the United States.
“This is an exciting new appointment and recognises Northern Ireland’s unique relationship with the United States and its people. I look forward to working with Trevor to harness all the opportunities that lie ahead.”
UUP leader Doug Beattie said the creation of the role is “great news and provides fantastic opportunities”.
“The government’s appointment of Mr Ringland in that role is a very positive step forward and I hope everyone gives him their support as his work begins,” Mr Beattie said.
— Doug Beattie (@BeattieDoug) June 6, 2021
“Trevor has a unique understanding of relationships across communities and business in Northern Ireland.
“He is a strong advocate for the Union and a unionism that is all-encompassing and reaches out across the divide.
“Everybody should be able to get behind him and support him in his work as he promotes Northern Ireland and its people across the United States.
“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.
“We need more engagement, not less.”