Sunday 20 August 2017

Embattled Norris vows to 'fly across the flak'

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

SENATOR David Norris admitted yesterday he is disappointed with the continuing slide in his popularity in the latest Red C opinion poll but vowed to "fly across the flak".

Mr Norris dropped to fourth in the race with just 14pc of the vote behind Labour's Michael D Higgins, Independent Sean Gallagher and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

"It's disappointing, certainly," Mr Norris said on a visit to Carlow yesterday, "I'm not one of those politicians who says that it's not. It's up to me now to get it back up and I believe I will. I'm determined now to fly across the flak."

Mr Norris went on the defensive yesterday stating that he believed there has never been a candidate who had "so many rumours, allegations, untruths" against them.

"Some of them I'm responsible for myself, no doubt, and I put my hands up.

"But the people know me to be a decent and a good man," he said.

The senator yesterday opened his campaign headquarters in Dublin's Duke Street.

Mr Norris denied that there was a lack of clarity about disability payments he received after he was diagnosed with hepatitis in 1994. He had been working as an English lecturer in Trinity College Dublin, but the authorities required him to give up his job in 1995 as a result of the disability and he was paid long-term disability until he retired in 2009.

Mr Norris said he felt better shortly after one year, but the university had already appointed somebody else to his position.

He also said it was "a bit odd" that there "seemed to be a new story every single day".

"I have age-related eyesight degeneration. I'm a pretty vigorous 67. It's a very mild form, I'm not blind. Look at my eyes. Are they bloodshot? I hope not. Am I slurring? Am I staggering? Do I have a drink problem? I don't think so. These are all things that are being said."

He compared his campaign to a war zone. "During the war bits of silver paper, of metal, were flown up to distract the radar," he said, adding he believed the "intention" of the stories was to prevent him connecting with the people. He said nobody was focusing on the issues of his platform which were mental health, culture and enterprise.

Irish Independent

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