Norris set to re-enter Áras race

Fri, Sep 16, 2011, 01:00

Senator David Norris appears to be poised to re-enter the presidential race.

Speaking to reporters outside Leinster House today, Mr Norris said he was “actively interested” in seeking support for a nomination.

Mr Norris was handed a petition of 10,000 signatures collected by the We Want Norris Campaign, urging him to re-enter the campaign.

He is due to appear on RTÉ’s Late Late Show tonight, where he is likely to appeal for support for a nomination on the basis that polls show he has significant public support.

The Senator canvassed Independent members of the Oireachtas yesterday, seeking their backing.

He requires the signatures of 20 members of the Oireachtas or the support of four city or county councils to enter the presidential race.

The Senator appeared to have a good prospect of reaching that total at the end of July until a letter was published in which he had appealed for clemency on behalf of a former partner facing a charge of statutory rape in Israel.

Donegal Independent TD Thomas Pringle, who withdrew his support at that time, was adamant last night he would not go back on that decision. Another TD who withdrew his initial support, Waterford Independent John Halligan, said he was unlikely to change his mind.

Dublin North-Central TD Finian McGrath said he and some of the other Independents would only consider a change of mind on democratic grounds, if the Senator was just short of 20 signatures. “They mightn’t necessarily agree with somebody but they might sign it to ensure that there is an inclusive election,” he said.

Ronan Mooney, a spokesman for the group behind the website, said the motivation behind the campaign was to “have a fair and democratic election” that includes the Senator. “It is evident that the selection process is flawed and restrictive, particularly for independents,” he said.