It is understood the Cabinet has approved the nomination of Edward F Crawford as the new US ambassador to Ireland.

Mr Crawford, an 80-year-old businessman from Ohio, will still have to be approved by the US Senate.

It is reported that Mr Crawford has roots in Co Cork.

There has not been a US ambassador to Ireland since January 2017.

Kevin O'Malley was the last holder of the post, but his term ended when former US president Barack Obama left office.

It was reported last year that Irish-American businessman Brian P Burns would take over the position.

However, he withdrew his name from consideration due to ill health.

The next step is that US President Donald Trump will officially nominate Mr Crawford.

His name will then go forward to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and it will hold a confirmation hearing.

After the hearing the committee will consider his candidacy and vote on it.

If it votes to approve him, Mr Crawford's name will then go to the floor of the Senate for a further vote.

If he passes that, then he will be sworn in and make his way to Ireland. This whole process could take a few months.

For example, in the case of Mr O'Malley, he was named by President Obama at the beginning of June 2014 and not sworn in until 30 September 2014.

He then arrived in Ireland at the beginning of October 2014.

Previous residents of the ambassador's residence at the Phoenix Park include Jean Kennedy-Smith, sister of former US president John F Kennedy, and Dan Rooney, former chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A planned visit by US President Donald Trump to Ireland in November has been postponed due to scheduling reasons.

Additional reporting Micheál Lehane