Sunday 18 February 2018

Aras run beset with problems since the beginning

Breda Heffernan

HE is the Joycean scholar seen sporting a straw boater and a beaming grin every time Bloomsday rolls around.

However, Senator David Norris has had little reason to smile of late.

Since throwing his hat into the presidential ring, he has been beset by troubles.

Before he had even secured a nomination to run for the Aras, he was forced to defend his comments made in 2002 about pederasty in ancient Greece when older men would sexually 'mentor' younger boys.

Now he has found himself mired in fresh controversy after it emerged that he had written character references for a former boyfriend -- Israeli peace activist Ezra Yizhak Nawi -- during his trial for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Norris said for as long as he had known him, and the two had been friends since 1975, he believed Nawi only had relationships with adult men.

He confessed to feeling "shattered" and "confused" when it later emerged that Nawi had indeed been conducting a sexual relationship with the Palestinian teenager.

Mr Norris (67) was a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin for almost three decades.

He was the first openly gay politician elected in Ireland when he won a Senate seat in 1987.

A long-standing campaigner on gay rights issues, he took legal actions seeking to decriminalise homosexuality.

Irish Independent

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