A confirmation hearing has been held for Edward Crawford, the man nominated by US President Donald Trump to be the next US Ambassador to Ireland.

The Ohio businessman appeared before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In opening statements, Mr Crawford was described as a successful businessman who is proud of his Irish-American roots. 

Mr Crawford told the hearing that his parents are from Ireland and that he has been there many times. 

He said he was grateful to Mr Trump for his nomination and that if confirmed, he will bring with him a firm commitment to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Asked by Senator Jeanne Shaheen how the US should help protect peace in Northern Ireland after Brexit, Mr Crawford said that Brexit is something that has to be settled by the EU and UK but added: "We’ve made it clear that we’re behind the Good Friday Agreement." 

Senator Ron Johnson asked about Ireland's low corporate tax rate but Mr Crawford said he did not have enough quality information on the matter to give an answer.

The committee will vote on Mr Crawford's nomination in the coming weeks and if approved his name will go to the floor of the US Senate for a further vote.

In October, Mr Trump announced his intention to nominate Mr Crawford to the role.

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.