Gay Irish senator gets nomination to run for Irish presidency

David Norris

David Norris

DUBLIN — The independent Senator who represents Trinity District in Ireland‘s parliament, the Seanad Éireann, garnered the support of the Irish capital city’s town council Tuesday evening to secure his nomination as a presidential candidate, entering a race already occupied by six other candidates.

David Norris had withdrawn from the presidential campaign in August when it had been disclosed that he had written letters requesting clemency for a former partner, Ezra Yizhak Nawi.

David Norris

Nawi, an Israeli citizen, had been convicted of raping a 15 year old Palestinian male youth.

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 statutory rape.

After his withdrawal, the Senator had received a “consistent outpouring of public support,” which led him to reconsider accepting nomination. Speaking with reporters, he said he was “absolutely thrilled” at the news.

“If I can make this kind of comeback I hope to God as president I’ll be able to help the country make the kind of comeback that it and its people deserve.”

In an interview with the Irish Times regarding the controversial clemency letters and his decision to not release them, Norris said he had been advised by his legal team not to publish the documents.

“I am absolutely restricted by questions of privacy,” he said. “I understand people’s interest but I’ve been told by my lawyers that these letters are subject to professional legal privilege and I’ve been told I cannot publish them.

Mr. Norris added he did not think there was anything in the unpublished letters that could cause him embarrassment. However, he apologised for anyone who may have been upset by the contents of the documents.

“Can I say from the bottom of my heart that I know that every time these issues arise they cause pain to the victims and I want to apologise humbly to anybody to whom I have caused pain,” he said. “It was a sad and horrible case and I was shocked and appalled by it.”

Mr. Norris said he “abhorred abuse of children with every fibre of his being” and has worked with survivor groups in the past.

The vote will take place on October 27, and Norris is up against Labour’s Michael D Higgins, Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness and independent candidates Dana Rosemary Scallon, Mary Davis and Sean Gallagher.

If elected, Norris will become the world’s second openly gay head of state.

This Story Filed Under