The Irish National Caucus is deeply sorry about the death of Norman Houston, former Director of the NI Bureau
in Washington, DC.
Norman was a good and dedicated diplomat and public servant.
I guess the most important thing we say about others is not what we say on their death, but what we say to them while they are living.
So, let me quote what I wrote to Norman on January 12, 2018, thanking him for the ‘safe place/ambiance’ you have fostered and made bloom at the NI Bureau— defusing controversy and tension…. A real diplomatic achievement, of which you can be proud.”
In particular, I was very grateful to Norman for the respect and solidarity he showed to Raymond McCord, Sr. He met with Raymond and me when the Irish national Caucus brought Raymond to Washington in May 2009,to lobby for a Congressional Hearing on the 1997 murder and cover-up of his son Raymond, Jr. We achieved the Hearing which was later held in October 2009. And he met with Raymond, Barbara Flaherty, and me on Saturday, February 15, 2020, when we brought Raymond back to Washington—after Norman had retired from the NI Bureau.
To conclude on a lighter note —as Norman, despite his professional seriousness, liked to laugh— I made a point privately and publicly of addressing him as “Ambassador” (even though he was not) on the grounds that anyone who officially represented County Fermanagh had to be an Ambassador.
He would laugh heartily at that.
Norman always reciprocated my solidarity, writing on September 12, 2019, “Dear Father Mc Manus: Thanks for all your support over the years. You have always been a gentleman and not afraid to tell the truth.”
God rest you, Norman, and God comfort your family and loved ones.