Sunday 18 February 2018

Despite a 'dirty fight' Norris says he will be next President

PORTRAIT OF A POLITICIAN: David Norris, seen here on the campaign trail, has shown dignity throughout the controversy. Photo: Tony Gavin
PORTRAIT OF A POLITICIAN: David Norris, seen here on the campaign trail, has shown dignity throughout the controversy. Photo: Tony Gavin

Joe Jackson

SENATOR David Norris says he is still convinced he will be the next President of Ireland, despite the fact that he has become involved in what he calls "a particularly dirty fight". But he rejected the idea that he is the victim of a conspiracy to sabotage his campaign.

And he says he has decided to stop responding to questions raised by interviews he gave in the past and concentrate on getting the nomination.

"I have to make a value judgement on this and I know it will do me far more harm than good if I just keep on denying, denying, denying.

"Helen Lucy Burke said on the radio that she wanted to stop my candidacy and there is this website that was set up supposedly in my name and is out to undo me," he says. "But I don't know for sure that there is, as some say, a concerted campaign. If there is, who are the people behind it?

"But I do believe there are certain forces in this country that realise somebody who is on the margins, somebody who is Independent and was never part of any political party, could actually become President -- and that has them concerned. Whether they are a lot of individuals, or one individual, the intention is to divert me from my path, but I shall not be diverted. I also believe that people who have extreme religious views have been upset by me.

"And I think there is an attempt to invert the whole situation. What is being said by some of these right-wing commentators is that the liberal agenda is winning and that because I am gay I'm privileged, and that gay people are privileged and that nobody dares to criticise them.

"That's rubbish! That's the same kind of thing as saying it is fashionable to be gay. They should try it sometime, even now, when kids are being bullied out of schools [because they are gay] and teachers are doing nothing about it.


"Look at America. Gutless politicians have allowed the word 'liberal' to become toxic. But if liberal has become toxic in Ireland, then let's remember that the root of the word 'liberal' is the Latin word for freedom -- and this country was founded on the concept of freedom. If we are going to betray those ideals, then this is not the country I love.

"Yet I don't believe we will. But there are people who want to do that and this is the very time to do it, when people's spirits are down, when the economy is down. This is when the right wing flourishes and liberal people are done down, blamed -- but we must not allow that to happen.

"I am happy to be part of the liberal agenda and though I don't know of any concerted conspiracy against me, personally, there is a current attempt to discredit liberalism in this country and it is intellectually dishonest. And I will certainly take a stand against it, 100 per cent, because I believe it is deeply dangerous and threatening."

He added: "I think I'm going to be President. In fact, I bloody well know I am... My best revenge is winning the Presidency."

He claimed that one newspaper, the Daily Mail, had been attacking him "ruthlessly and without pity". He says "they will be seen to be carrying out a vendetta" against him, that part of what's happening is "a circulation war".

"It is an English-based paper and they have to sell newspapers and they will do it ruthlessly and without pity."

"I've been in politics a long time and I know what the fight is like. This fight is particularly dirty and I wasn't expecting it but I don't care if there is a conspiracy, I don't care who is doing all this to me -- ultimately it is the Irish people to whom I must answer.

"People forget there were serious questions raised about Mary Robinson's suitability for the Presidency, but she ruthlessly put it all to one side. She was called a tribal time bomb but she didn't spend time, saying she wasn't. That's how she got through it -- and from that's what I am going to do. As I said earlier, I will not be diverted from my path.

"And I do believe my name will be on the ballot. I have four months to prove myself -- and I shall."

Sunday Independent

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