Theresa Villiers, former Minister of Transport in Northern Ireland, has moved into the position of Northern Ireland Secretary of State taking the place of former secretary Owen Paterson. Villiers has called the position an “honor.”

BBC News
Northern Ireland reports on the first major restructuring of the Northern Irish coalition government since it came into being in 2010.

In a statement, Villiers said that the Secretary of State role is a "really important job in government".

"Huge progress has been made in Northern Ireland over recent years," she said.

"As the headlines in the past few days demonstrate, however, we still have some way to go if we are to overcome the divisions in society and build a genuinely shared future.

"I look forward to working with the executive, political parties and people from right across the community to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland for everyone."

She added, "I'm really thrilled to be given this job to do by the prime minister. It's such an honour and it’s going to be a fascinating job. I'm getting stuck into hard work right from the beginning."

Villiers also spoke out strongly in favor of the Parades Commission, but added that she is open to hearing the opinions of all those across Northern Ireland.

"We've always been open to a devolved solution for the Parades Commission. In the absence of that, it's vitally important that people obey the Parades Commission's decisions, otherwise we get those scenes which are so damaging to Northern Ireland.

"The right thing for me to do now is to listen to those in the Northern Ireland Executive and others in the community about what they believe the solutions are."

Prior to her new role in the Northern Irish government, Villiers was an MEP before becoming an MP and is a former barrister and lecturer. As the new Secretary of State, Villiers is replacing Owen Paterson, who has been named Minister of Environment.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt said, "In welcoming Theresa Villiers, I would like to pay tribute to Owen Paterson who was not only a hard-working secretary of state but possibly the most diligent shadow secretary of state we have ever had. I hope his successor will show the same enthusiasm and commitment," he said.

"I urge her to clarify whether she will be as supportive of the devolution of the powers to vary Corporation Tax to Northern Ireland as Owen Paterson was," he added.

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