Hannigan moves up into NIO comms director role

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has appointed Robert Hannigan as

director of comms.



He takes over from Tom Kelly who left after the June general election to

replace Alastair Campbell as Tony Blair's official spokesman.



Hannigan has been promoted from deputy director of comms and has been

with the Belfast-based Government department for two years. The NIO is

now on the hunt for a deputy director to replace him.



Before joining the NIO, Hannigan was Northern Ireland public affairs

director at the then Shandwick International, now Weber Shandwick.



As director of comms, he heads a team of 35 and advises Secretary of

State Dr John Reid and other ministers on media relations.



Hannigan, who has been acting comms director since Kelly's departure,

said his appointment was a direct replacement for Kelly: 'Our main aim

is to explain the Good Friday agreement. But obviously - because of the

situation here - there is a lot of crisis management.'



Kelly, a former BBC political correspondent, is spokesman for Blair,

along with Campbell's former deputy, Godric Smith.



This week NI victims minister Des Browne announced details of the

allocation of more than £6m in funds to help victims of the

troubles.



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