Norris declines to say if he has backing for new presidential nomination bid

Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 01:00

TV APPEARANCE:SENATOR DAVID Norris announced his hope to re-enter presidential race last night but declined to say if he had the backing to secure a nomination.

“This would be the biggest comeback in Irish political history,” he said on RTE’s Late Late show.

“I think people love a comeback,” he said.

People understand the idea of a “second chance,” Mr Norris said.

The Independent senator pulled out of the race in July. It followed controversy over letters he wrote seeking clemency from the Israeli authorities for his former partner who had been convicted of statutory rape of a 15 year old boy

Mr Norris is seeking the support of 20 Oireachtas members for his nomination. After the controversy broke a number of those who previously pledged their support for him said they could no longer do so. Mr Norris declined to say how many Oireachtas members had pledged their support for his nomination. “It is a fight of course it is, I like a fight,” he said. “This is a poker game,” he added.

“I’m not perfect and I’m not pretending to be perfect,” he said.

“If you’re waiting for a perfect president, you’ll be waiting a long time” he added.

Mr Norris said exiting the race was difficult. “It wasn't an easy time, but you get tempered in the fire” he said. Asked if he was “heartbroken” he said: “You can only break your heart once.”

People who were politically canny rather than being motivated by humane ideas might not have written the letter of clemency, he said. Mr Norris hoped he never rejected an appeal for help. If he helped strangers, how could he not help someone for whom he had feelings, even if he was flawed, he said.

Mr Norris said he was “appalled, shocked and horrified” on hearing of his ex-partner’s conviction. “I did not condone or excuse it. I abhor abuse of children,” he said.

Asked if he ever thought sexual relations between a middle aged man and a 15-year-old by was justified he said: “No, I made that repeatedly clear.”

Mr Norris said he had no knowledge or proof of an orchestrated campaign against him. To allege so would be the “height of irresponsibility” and would make him unfit to be president, he said.