Sunday 4 December 2016

Norris launches presidential bid

Published 14/03/2011 | 14:36

Independent Senator David Norris during his launch for his campaign for the presidency, at the Science Gallery, Pearse Street, Dublin. Photo: PA
Independent Senator David Norris during his launch for his campaign for the presidency, at the Science Gallery, Pearse Street, Dublin. Photo: PA

Presidential hopeful Senator David Norris claimed people were crying out for a political revolution as he officially launched his bid for Aras an Uachtarain.

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Mr Norris said he is not running for the glory of high office but for the difference it could make to people's lives, claiming he would sell Ireland around the world.

The prominent gay rights activist believes his sexuality will not be an issue with voters.

"What people continue to say to me ... is that now is not the time for politics as usual, rather a time for political revolution, where the welfare of the Irish people comes first," Mr Norris said.

Mr Norris, who has served in the Seanad since 1987, said the role of the next president would be to foster innovation, creativity and look after the physical and mental well-being of the nation.

Every presidential hopeful needs the support of at least 20 TDs or senators or the backing of four city/county councils to be a candidate.

President Mary McAleese's term in office ends in November.

Mr Norris said he had written to the Cathaoirleach of every council across the state and would speak to non-party deputies in the Dail.

And he said he would accept support from members of any party.

"The victory I seek will not be easy. I know that," he said.

"The might of the political establishment will be marshalled against me, but I have spent a lifetime challenging the consensus and I look forward to that contest."

Mr Norris said he would set aside a substantial chunk of the €250,000 president's salary if elected for a special fund to make the presidency more accessible to the people.

"This is the people's money. And I will live as frugally as I can. But at the same time I must pay respect to the office," he said.

Mr Norris said his sexuality has not been an issue as he canvassed councillors for their support.

"I don't see myself as a gay president. I see myself as a president who happens to be gay.

"I've been successful in Seanad Eireann. It has not been an impediment. I don't believe it will be now. This is the 21st century.

"I think the Irish people are a little bit bored with my sexuality."

And he claimed that while he would take his tenure in office seriously, there would be a light side to life in the Aras also.

"I want to be a deeply serious president but that doesn't mean there's going to be no fun," Mr Norris said.

"There's no point in living if there's no fun."

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