Two more Senators back Norris bid

Fri, Jul 22, 2011, 01:00

Two independent Senators have said they will nominate their colleague Senator David Norris in his campaign for the presidency, while making it clear they will be voting for Labour’s Michael D Higgins.

In separate statements, Katherine Zappone and Fiach Mac Conghail said the electorate should have the choice to vote for Mr Norris if they so wished.

Mr Norris announced yesterday he has 13 signatures of members of the Oireachtas of the required 20 needed to secure his name is on the ballot paper in the autumn election to succeed President Mary McAleese.

The two new signatures today leave him five short. Fianna Fáil Senator Daragh O'Brien is canvassing party colleagues with a view to securing more signatures.

Mr Mac Conghail said today he would vote for Michael D Higgins in the election, describing him as “a pioneer of social justice” who had “achieved important advances in the cultural landscape of Ireland”.

He said Mr Higgins was “a pillar of our society and a visionary”.

“After a lifetime of dedication to justice at home and internationally, Michael D. Higgins is best placed to represent our country as the future president of Ireland,” Mr Mac Conghail said.

He said he saw it as part of his responsibility as a Senator to encourage “public

conversation on the future wellbeing and governance of our Republic”.

“This debate can only be improved by the quality of candidates in the forthcoming election for president. In my opinion it should not only be politicians who should decide the candidates for the presidency.”

He would therefore be exercising his constitutional right to nominate Senator David Norris as a candidate and wished him him well in his campaign.

Ms Zappone described Mr Higgins as “a man of extraordinary integrity, intellect and culture and he has a proven record of making an exceptional contribution to the moral, political, and cultural development of Ireland over a lifetime of dedicated service”.

She said she was also exercising her parliamentary privilege to nominate Mr Norris.

“We live in a democracy and as such, I believe that Senator Norris has a right to be in the race for the Irish presidency.

“David is a man of great courage and a pioneer in the field of human rights. The

Irish people should have an opportunity to vote for him if he is their choice and I wish David well in his campaign.”