Envoy to Ireland Quits

For 'Personal Reasons'

Richard J. Egan, the billionaire co-founder of EMC Corp., has submitted his resignation as U.S. ambassador to Ireland, a Bush administration official said yesterday .

Egan said he was quitting for "personal reasons." He left Dublin last Friday for his home in Hopkinton, Mass., said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Boston Globe reported Egan was frustrated with the limits of his job.

"He submitted his resignation and considers it an honor to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland," a spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin said in a statement Thursday night, according to the Globe.

Egan, 67, was not available for comment, embassy officials and family members told the newspaper. He was believed to be at his family home in Hopkinton with his wife, Maureen, another former EMC board member, and members of his family.

Roger Marino, who co-founded the data storage company with Egan in 1979, said Egan told him Thursday he felt frustrated by the many administrative duties he faced while being left out of important discussions about peace and jobs in the region.

"He felt he was doing a lot of things that weren't as productive as they could've been, and felt a little frustrated," Marino told the Globe.

"His capabilities to do good are endless, and yet he was in a nonproductive role."

A State Department official said that Egan's resignation wasn't requested by President Bush but would be accepted.

Executions Rise

Following Decline

The number of executions in the United States increased slightly in 2002 as 71 people were put to death -- five more than in 2001 -- ending a sharp decline that had taken place in recent years.

Death penalty experts on both sides of the issue said this could mean the number of annual executions is stabilizing somewhat after several years of turmoil.

Executions soared through the 1990s, peaking at 98 in 1999, as a tough-on-crime sentiment appeared to grip juries, prosecutors and judges. But in recent years, as death row inmates were exonerated in several high-profile cases, a greater caution seemed to pervade the system. The execution rate slowed dramatically, with the number dropping to 85 in 2000 and 66 last year.

The 71 executions this year -- with no more expected to take place by year's end -- suggests that the steep decline may be ending. Andrew McBride, a Washington lawyer and former federal prosecutor, said this stabilization may mean the public is coming closer to a wary supportfor the death penalty.

-- Compiled from reports by

the Associated Press

and Chicago Tribune