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