Norris controversy


Sir, – I would like to reiterate how deeply saddened I am that David Norris has ended his presidential campaign. The letter he wrote defending his partner was very wrong.

However, we live in a democracy and the people of Ireland should have decided.

It truly is a dark day for Ireland. – Yours, etc,

JOANNE BANNON, Whitshed Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I look forward to the correspondents who complain about a democratic deficit preventing the Irish people from judging David Norris in a presidential election now calling for an end to those other affronts to democracy, the rotten Seanad boroughs of Trinity College Dublin and the National University and their elitist electorates.

I agree with Fintan O’Toole (Opinion Analysis, August 2nd) that precedents should be followed in the Norris case. David Norris should therefore resign as a Trinity Senator forthwith, hastening the demise of a ludicrous and unfair contrivance passed off as some kind of public representation when it is everything but. – Yours, etc,

ULTAN Ó BROIN, South Circular Road, Dublin 8.

A chara, – If it had been a Fianna Fáil politician who had sent a letter on Seanad Éireann notepaper, as Mr Norris did, would Fintan O’Toole be as understanding? I think not! – Is mise,

MICHAEL O’HALLORAN, Ashbourne Village, Tycor, Waterford.

Sir, – Senator Norris would have brought colour, but we would have spent seven years waiting for the other shoe to fall. – Yours, etc,

DONAL HANLEY, Abington Wood, Malahide, Co Dublin.

Sir, – I see much gnashing of teeth at the political presidential demise of David Norris. A recurring theme seems to centre on the notion that it should be the Irish electorate that should make the final call on Mr Norris’s presidential bid, not some perceived old order conspiracy.

The irony and the contradiction escapes both Mr Norris and his supporters. Mr Norris has sat as a Senator for many years. This House is elected by the political, academic and business elite of the nation. Ordinary Irish voters are never asked for their opinion nor are they allowed to vote in such a privileged House.

What the plain punters are allowed to do, nay compelled to do, is this – put their hands in their pockets and pay for the privilege of listening to a load of hot air and high notions from people who see themselves as beings of some substance. – Yours, etc,

JOHN CUFFE, Old Fairgreen, Dunboyne, Co Meath.

Sir, – Senator Norris is to be commended for his dignified exit from what seems, now, to be a rather dull race. His philosophical use of the Beckett quote was moving, but perhaps the anger and bitterness of Joyce’s “shite and onions!” would have been more appropriate. – Yours, etc,

NIALL McARDLE, Eganville, Ontario, Canada.

Sir, – Thus far in his political life David Norris has only ever been elected by what a correspondent on these pages (August 3rd) referred to as “the political elites and gatekeepers”. It seems fitting that they and not the people decided his fate in the end. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY FORTUNE, Collins Avenue, Dublin 9.

Sir, – John Rogers (August 3rd) would prefer an “interesting” President to a boring one who never made mistakes.

He rightly says there will always be “what ifs” regarding the outcome of the presidential election. These include, what if Senator Norris had won and then the revelations about his “human error” had emerged when he was in office? He would then have had to resign, as President, bringing even more embarrassment to Ireland. I, for one, do not want that sort of “interesting” President. – Yours, etc,

KIERAN McGRATH Beaconsfield Court, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

Sir,– The withdrawal of David Norris is to be regretted, as he would have made an able and committed President.

Some years ago the venality of many of our political leaders was brought home to me. My daughter was teaching a class in an inner-city girls school when East Timor was in turmoil.

She encouraged her girls to imagine themselves as being at school in East Timor at the time, and suggested they write poems about how the conflict was affecting them. These they compiled in a small photocopied booklet, illustrated with their own drawings, which was sold to raise money to help the people there.

The girls sent copies to prominent people in government to illustrate their sympathy and concern. Only one or two perfunctory acknowledgements were received; there are no votes to be had from inner-city schoolgirls. Two people, however, wrote detailed personal letters to the girls, showing they had read through the booklet and commending them for their interest and involvement. One of them was President Mary Robinson. The other was Senator David Norris. – Yours, etc,

TOM MacMAHON, Mount Auburn, Killiney, Co Dublin.

Sir, – I see the Israeli embassy in Dublin (Home News, August 2nd) states that, “There is much admiration in Israel for Senator Norris’s work in Ireland in the cause of human rights and in particular for his endeavours for reform of the laws relating to homosexuality”.

I don’t suppose we will have a similar expression of support from the Palestinian Authority? – Yours, etc,

PAUL KEARNS, Arnon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Sir, – I am delighted to find that progressive sensibilities have refined enough in the past two years or so for liberal icon David Norris not to have to don sackcloth and ashes in the wake of his ill-judged intervention on behalf of a convicted sex offender.

The understanding which many of your contributors have extended to the Senator is inspirational, and a radical departure from the manner in which Catholic priest Fr Seán Sheehy was dragged on a hurdle around every street in Ireland when he did as much for another convicted sex abuser some time ago in the Listowel case. – Yours, etc,

DAVID SMITH, Harmonstown Road, Artane, Dublin 5.