Norris in appeal to parties not to block Aras bid
SENATOR David Norris last night appealed to political parties in "smoke-filled rooms" not to block his attempt to run for the presidency next year.
He was speaking after a TV3 opinion poll found that he was the most popular choice among voters, with a 20pc support rating compared with Labour TD Michael D Higgins (8pc) and Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay (8pc).
But Mr Norris said he needed the support of the political parties to run -- given that a nominee has to get the backing of either 20 TDs or senators, or the members of four city or county councils.
"It looks at this stage as if I am the people's choice. I just think it would be very extraordinary if the parties in their smoke-filled rooms decided that I wasn't to be allowed to have the opportunity to run," he said.
Mr Norris also said the poll findings showed that his identity as a gay man was no longer an issue with the Irish electorate.
"I have always conducted myself with decency and lived a respectable life and that's not going to change. I think it's a non-issue," he said.
The TV3/Millward Brown opinion poll also put Mr Norris far ahead of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (5pc) in the race for the presidency.
However, RTE presenter Miriam O'Callaghan was the choice of 4pc of those polled, despite not having officially declared that she wants to run.
Fianna Fail Munster MEP Brian Crowley, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness and former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton all attracted 2pc support.