US President Joe Biden is said to be close to announcing his nominee for the role of US Ambassador to Ireland.
It is understood that the process of selecting a candidate is nearing a conclusion with a formal announcement expected soon.
The identity of the new Ambassador has not yet been confirmed but one of the frontrunners is thought to be Claire Cronin, a lawyer and the House Majority Leader in the Massachusetts State Legislature.
She campaigned for Joe Biden in Massachusetts during the 2020 presidential race.
Other possible contenders for the role include former US Senator Chris Dodd, lawyer Brian O’Dwyer, former US Ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth Frawley Bagley and Thomas O’Neill, son of the former House of Representatives speaker Tip O’Neill.
Once someone has been nominated by President Biden, they will have to be confirmed by the US Senate.
It is believed the announcement could be made as part of a batch of foreign ambassador nominations.
Last week, the White House named nine ambassador picks for countries including Israel, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Paraguay.
It is not yet clear if President Biden will name a US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland.
Last month, 25 members of the United States Congress wrote to the US President calling on him to appoint a Northern Ireland Envoy.