Key staff quit Norris campaign

 

David Norris's presidential election campaign has been thrown into turmoil with the resignation of two key officials over another controversy involving the Trinity Senator.

Director of communications Jane Cregan and director of elections Derek Murphy resigned from Mr Norris’s campaign team yesterday.

Ms Cregan left a voice message on her phone saying: “I no longer work for the David Norris for President campaign.” Mr Murphy confirmed to The Irish Times last night that he had resigned but declined to say why.

Campaign manager Liam McCabe could not be contacted for comment about the latest problems in the Norris campaign.

The resignations follow claims about a court case in Israel involving Mr Norris’s former partner, Ezra Yizhak Nawi, who was convicted of having sex with an underage Palestinian youth in 1992. In more recent years Mr Nawi has clashed with the Israeli authorities for his political activities on behalf of Palestinians.

When contacted by The Irish Times yesterday, Mr Nawi said he would be prepared to speak about the background to the case but not until he had discussed the matter with Mr Norris.

The two men have remained close friends and continue to meet regularly and are in frequent phone contact. In the notes to his one-man show, Do You Hear What I’m Seeing? , in Clontarf Castle in 2007 Mr Norris referred to the work Mr Nawi was doing for human rights in Palestine.

“I am very proud that my former partner and close friend Ezra Yizhak Nawi places his life in jeopardy on a routine basis to help those he considers his neighbours in Israel/Palestine.

“Ezra is an Israeli-born Jew of Middle Eastern origin and as a ‘Good Samaritan’ his neighbours in this case are the downtrodden Palestinian subsistence farmers in the villages around south Hebron.”

Mr Norris’s campaign was embroiled in controversy earlier in the summer when comments he made about sexual activity between older and younger men and boys in Magill magazine in January 2002 resurfaced.While they set back his prospects of getting a nomination from county councils, he appeared to have recovered in recent weeks following an Irish Times poll that showed him leading the presidential race with 25 per cent support. By this week, 15 Oireachtas members had pledged to sign his nomination papers and he only needs another five names to get on the ballot paper.

Mr Norris made no comment to reporters when asked about the matter outside his Dublin home last night. He left his home shortly before 8pm, before crossing the street and entering another premises opposite. When reporters rang the doorbell shortly thereafter they were told that Mr Norris had left the premises.