Our team

Richard Cushnie

Richard Cushnie

Deputy Director / First Secretary

Richard Cushnie has extensive political, policy, and leadership experience across the United Kingdom and Ireland, including: managing major reform projects in Northern Ireland’s Education and Justice Departments; overseeing political and policing transformation in the Northern Ireland Office; leading on the United Kingdom’s engagement with Ireland as the First Secretary in the British Embassy in Dublin; and advising ministers on equality policy in the Irish Department of Justice.

Before joining the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Richard worked as a journalist in England.

From Killyleagh in Northern Ireland’s beautiful Strangford Lough area, Richard has a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Public Administration from the National University of Ireland. He is married with two children.

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Lorraine Turner

Head of the New York Office

From Merseyside, England, Lorraine Turner heads the Bureau’s New York office. Lorraine played a vital role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, working for the British Consulate in New York as the Northern Ireland Press & Public Affairs Officer. Prior to that, she worked for Granada TV.

During her career, Lorraine has created vital strategic relationships with government, business, and community leaders, inspiring their ongoing interest in Northern Ireland and its transformation. Lorraine is a graduate of John Moores University in Liverpool, where she earned a BA in Media & Cultural Studies. She also spent time at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies. Lorraine was awarded an MBE from HM The Queen in 2004 for her contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process.

Tracy Blanton

Tracy Blanton

Finance Manager / Executive Assistant

Tracy Blanton joined the Bureau in 2002. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Tracy manages the Bureau’s financial and accounting operations. She also oversees the Director’s schedule and facilitates all ministerial visits to the United States and Canada.

Before emigrating to the United States, Tracy was a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and was employed as a Human Resource Director at a number of leading United Kingdom businesses.

Andrew Elliott

Andrew Elliott

Director / Counsellor

Andrew was appointed to his US Diplomatic Post in November 2019.

He joined the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 1988 and the Senior Civil Service in 2000. His previous diplomatic post was as Head of the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels from 2015 until November 2019, where a major priority related to the particular challenge of Brexit for the region of Northern Ireland.

From 2010 he was responsible for a programme of major reform to the delivery of EU Common Agricultural Policy grants and subsidies to farmers in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland. As a result of this work, the exposure of the Department to financial correction by the European Commission was significantly reduced.

From 2005 until 2010, he was responsible for directing the development of population health policy in Northern Ireland, including the introduction of legislation to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces and the preparations for pandemic influenza.

From 2000 to 2004 he was Secretary to the Parades Commission with responsibility for providing senior advice to the Commission on the discharge of its duties and powers in relation to issues concerning human rights and the promotion of mediation and peace-building.

Emily Heenan

Emily Heenan

Strategic Communications and Public Outreach Officer

Emily Heenan joined the Northern Ireland Bureau in January 2020. In her role as Strategic Communications and Public Outreach Officer, Emily serves as the Bureau’s primary point of contact for you professional networks operating in the United States and Canada. She is also responsible for promoting, via various social media channels, in-person meeting, Bureau-sponsored events, Northern Ireland’s many cultural, academic, and political achievements.

Emily comes to the Northern Ireland Bureau having previously worked for the British Consulate General in Atlanta and the United State’s Senate. She has degrees in International Relations and Public Relations from Valdosta State University. She is a proud Georgia native with deep family roots in County Down.