Ireland’s openly gay presidential candidate withdraws from race after scandal

David Norris

David Norris via: Irish Times

DUBLIN, IRELAND — In a press conference at his Dublin town home on Tuesday, openly gay Senator David Norris announced that he was withdrawing from Ireland‘s presidential election campaign, after scandal erupted stemming from disclosure of letters he wrote to Israeli judicial authorities, seeking clemency for his former partner who had been convicted of raping a Palestinian teen in 1997.

The Senator had been considered a favorite for election to the Irish presidency and had Norris been elected, he would have become the world’s second openly gay head of state.

via: Irish Times

David Norris

Norris told the gathered media that he made a “human error” when he wrote a letter on his official Seanad Éireann letterhead paper seeking clemency from the Israeli authorities for his former lover, Ezra Yizhak Nawi Nawi.

Norris had an almost 30-year relationship with Ezra Yizhak Nawi and the pair remained together for four years after Nawi was convicted in 1997 of the statutory rape of the 15-year-old teen.

“I deeply regret the most recent of all the controversies concerning my former partner of 25 years ago, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi,” he said. “The fallout from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in political and personal life.

It is essential that I act decisively now to halt this negative process. I do not regret supporting and seeking clemency for a friend, but I do regret giving the impression that I did not have sufficient compassion for the victim of Ezra’s crime,” Mr Norris said.

“I accept that more than a decade and a half later when I have now reviewed the issue, and am not emotionally involved, when I am not afraid that Ezra might take his own life, I see that I was wrong. He served his time and never offended again. Yes, his actions were terrible, but my motivation to write the letter was out of love and concern. I was eager to support someone who has been very important and continues to be important in my life.

It is very sad that in trying to help a person I loved dearly, I made a human error.”

The story broke over the weekend, but campaign officials indicated that the Senator’s decision to withdraw from the race came Monday after critical support from political allies, three prominent Independent TDs withdrew their pledge to support the Trinity Senator’s nomination.

After refusing press questions, Norris read a brief quote from Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” After which Norris then indicated he would not be resigning his seat in the Seanad Éireann and retreated back into his home.

This Story Filed Under