The nomination of Claire Cronin to be the next US Ambassador to Ireland has been approved by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

It is the latest step in the appointment process and Ms Cronin's nomination will now be voted on by the full Senate at a future date.

Last month she appeared before a virtual confirmation hearing and addressed issues including corporation tax and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

She said that if she is confirmed as ambassador, she would work closely with the US Congress and the Biden administration to advance US priorities and reinforce shared values in Ireland.

"When my grandfather left Donegal for the promise that America held, I can't help but wonder what he would have thought if he knew his granddaughter would one day be testifying before this esteemed committee as the nominee to be the US Ambassador to Ireland," she said.

Ms Cronin currently serves as a Representative and as a Majority Leader in the state legislature of Massachusetts.

She is also a lawyer and campaigned for Joe Biden in Massachusetts ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

She was nominated for the role of ambassador by Mr Biden in June.

Her appointment was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee along with 32 other foreign policy nominations.

Announcing the list of approvals, the committee chairman, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, accused Republicans of obstructing the confirmation of nominees, which he said had resulted in unwarranted delays that threaten national security.

"As the United States faces an unprecedented confluence of challenges on the world stage, our security, interests and ability to advance our values and assert global leadership should not be imperilled by the obstructionism of those infatuated with playing politics with our entire national security infrastructure," Senator Menendez said.