The former Cork Examiner journalist who has been appointed the US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland by Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, was in Belfast this afternoon.

Declan Kelly, who has become a significant figure in the US public relations sector, met the North's Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, this afternoon.

He told journalists that he spent time considering the implications of the appointment before he accepted it, and that he hoped to make a contribution to investment opportunities between the US and the North.

Mr Kelly said his role would be confined to economic matters only, and he would have no political function. Previous US envoys - including Richard Haass, Mitchell Reiss and George Mitchell - frequently became involved in political issues during the peace process.

Declan Kelly started his career as a journalist with the Nenagh Guardian and Tipperary Star. He later worked with the Cork Examiner before he became involved in the PR business in the mid-1990s. He worked for the Dublin public relations firm Fleishman Hillard Saunders before setting up his own PR agency with Jackie Gallagher. The company was subsequently sold to international group Financial Dynamics.

Until July of this year he served as executive vice president of FTI Consulting, one of the world's leading international consulting companies. He played a significant role in Hilary Clinton's presidential election campaign and was one of the organisers behind a fund-raising event for her in Dublin. Last June his younger brother, Alan, caused a major surprise when he won a European Parliament seat for Labour.