A number of Ulster Unionist politicians have paid tribute to Norman Houston, who has passed away suddenly. Mr Houston was Northern Ireland`s representative in Washington DC for many years.
Ulster Unionist Leader, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, said:
“This is incredibly sad news. I knew Norman as Mr Northern Ireland in America. He was known, respected and very fondly thought of across the United States. This is a great loss and we would like to pass on our condolences to his family and friends.
Lord Empey said:
“Norman was an unassuming but highly effective representative for Northern Ireland in Washington DC. He`ll be sadly missed.”
Ulster Unionist MLA, Mike Nesbitt, said:
“I was devastated to hear of the passing of Norman Houston who was our presence in Washington DC for so many years as head of the Northern Ireland Bureau and he was so successful at it. Norman was well known and well respected in Capitol Hill and the White House. He was the ultimate professional who could make you feel you were the most important person in the room.”
Ulster Unionist MLA, Alan Chambers. said:
“There was no better person to represent Northern Ireland in the United States than Norman Houston. He was steeped in his love and commitment for Northern Ireland.
“Back in 2008 I had been heading up a cross-party local government initiative to bring the annual conference of Sister Cities International to Belfast the following year. Norman Houston was a phenomenal help. He hosted a reception in Washington, he pulled out all the stops at very short notice and he sent a staff member to Kansas City in 2008 to help line up delegates for the following year.
“A hugely successful conference came to the Waterfront Hall in Belfast in 2009 and that couldn`t have been done without the efforts of Norman Houston. That opened the door for so many other conferences to look at Belfast as a serious conference venue.”