Friday 24 November 2017

It's uphill battle for Norris in Aras race

Barry Duggan

PRESIDENTIAL hopeful David Norris admitted yesterday it will now be difficult for him to get a nomination to contest the election.

But following the controversy over his paedophilia comments, the Independent senator vowed to plough on with his presidential election bid and warned any potential opponents: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

The colourful senator was speaking at the presentation of the 2010 Tipperary International Peace Award where he met another possible candidate, Mary Davis, and MEP Sean Kelly, who opted out of the race yesterday.

Candidates need the declared support of four county councils or 20 members of the Oireachtas to contest this year's Presidential election.

Mr Norris said he was not over-confident of getting the support of 20 TDs and senators.

"I am well aware of the fact that it will be a very significant job of persuading people. I am doing it in a very professional way. I am meeting everyone individually -- person to person and discussing my candidacy," he said.

"I am campaigning on my strengths, not on anybody else's weaknesses.

"I have also made it very clear that I will not be personally abusing Helen Lucy Burke [the author of the 2002 interview]. I will not tolerate supporters of mine personally or vulgarly abusing her.

"She is an elderly woman who is entitled to her opinion. I don't understand the motivation, but I am not getting into a row of that low level. I have always tried to behave with dignity and respect.

"I know there is a kitchen and I am very good at withstanding the heat, but I didn't actually realise there was a celebrity chef thing and I was going to have filthy language, plates, knives and crockery thrown at me, but I will get over that."

Mr Norris said it is "very difficult to say" if this week's saga regarding comments made in a 10-year-old interview about adult and child relationships -- which he says was taken out of context -- has impacted negatively on his campaign.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Dr Sima Samar, yesterday received the annual Tipperary International Peace Award at a function at Ballykisteen, Limerick Junction, Co Tipperary.

Dr Samar, a prominent campaigner for women's rights, said the recognition was "a great honour and pleasure".

Irish Independent

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