Belfast Telegraph

Our man in Washington goes after 12 years in post

Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

One of the most important people in Northern Ireland's relationship with the US is stepping down after 12 years in the role.

Norman Houston, the director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, is leaving the post after a tenure spanning four presidencies.

Mr Houston, who is originally from Larne, has helped delegations from Northern Ireland make connections at the White House - particularly during the key St Patrick's Day season - through the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

But speaking to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year, as he received an OBE from Buckingham Palace, Mr Houston said the job was more difficult without an Executive in place.

Mr Houston has been present at some of the key moments in Northern Ireland-US relations. In 2007, he escorted the then First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness into the Oval Office to meet President George W Bush.

His role, which is advertised with a salary of up to £79,849, is one of a number of major public sector roles advertised in this week's Business Telegraph.

The appointment is to be made by the Executive Office.

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