Norris gets his kicks with launch of autobiography

 

THE POLITICAL world should take note: David Norris is back on form. The trials of his doomed presidential bid behind him, it was clear last night that the TCD Senator had recovered all his old ebullience.

The occasion was the release of his autobiography, A Kick Against the Pricks, published by Transworld Ireland, which was launched by prominent campaigner, journalist and Derryman Eamonn McCann.

The location was Dublin City Hall where, as Norris recalled, his nomination for the presidency was secured by a vote of Dublin City Council just over a year ago.

“Let me say first that I don’t know, either, why David asked me to launch the book, but I regard it as a singular honour, an accolade,” Mr McCann said.

He recalled how back in the mid-1970s, as news editor of the Sunday World, he ran a lead story on a march in Dublin for gay rights organised by David Norris.

The opening line was: “Dublin homosexuals are taking to the streets to demand their rights.” After consultation with Norris, the first two words were changed about, so that it began: “Homosexual Dubliners”.

McCann said this “attention to subtle detail” was typical of Norris, despite his being a “larger-than-life” character.

Although Norris was best known as a campaigner for gay rights and human rights in general, he had exercised a much deeper influence by helping to change “the way people perceive one another” on this island.

Senator Norris recalled the “extraordinary day” when he secured the nomination to run for president. The fact that he lost the election didn’t matter so much because there was a “wonderful President” in the person of Michael D Higgins.

He had been heartened by what he termed “the goodness of people” and he added: “Yes, there are some pricks around, and I’m the boy to kick them.”

Recalling the first gay rights march mentioned by McCann, he said: “There were seven of us and not even all of us were Irish.” He carried a placard that said, “Homosexuals are revolting.”

Proceeding to name and thank virtually everyone at the launch, he said: “You are my friends, I adore you.”

Among the attendance were Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, Independent Senator Marie-Louise O’Donnell, former Green Party senator Dan Boyle and Dublin City councillor Mannix Flynn.