Norris bounces back with blistering attack on Taoiseach
SENATOR David Norris, who announced this week that he is seriously ill with cancer, proved beyond doubt that he may be bloodied but he's still unbowed.
He discharged himself from hospital yesterday, with the consent of his medics, to launch a blistering attack on the Taoiseach over the proposed abolition of the Seanad, accusing Enda Kenny of having "blood on his fangs".
The 68-year-old, who was first elected to the Seanad in 1987, excoriated Mr Kenny in an impassioned plea for the voters to reject the referendum due to take place in the autumn.
Typically, his jeremiad was peppered with colourful insults.
"This is not a case of turkeys voting for Christmas but being invited to slit their own throats and eviscerate and stuff themselves at the instigation of the Taoiseach," he thundered.
"Those on the benches opposite who pose as democrats and orators should note that there is not even a suggestion of a vegetarian alternative because the Taoiseach from the west has blood on his fangs and believes the Irish people are as stupid as those who elected his Government on false promises".
The outspoken senator became father of the Upper House after the 2011 general election when he became its longest-serving member. And he didn't hold back from galloping to the defence of the chamber which is facing the axe, dismissing the bill to abolish it as "badly drafted".
He added: "It's a piece of red meat held out by the Taoiseach to distract the attention of the guard dogs in order that the Irish people can be fooled."
On Wednesday morning – the same day when the debate on the scrapping of the Upper House began in the self-same chamber – Senator Norris released a statement announcing his illness, in which he explained: "The cancer appears to be related to the initial incidence of viral hepatitis which I contracted from tainted drinking water while I was on unpaid government business in Eastern Europe in 1994."
And he didn't spare the Taoiseach who he bluntly called "Enda bloody Kenny", also criticising him for not allowing his party a free vote on the upcoming abortion bill. "Will he listen to the voice of the people, this wonderful democrat, this absolute democrat who would not recognise democracy if it came up and puked in his face?" he demanded.
The senator, who was clearly showing the effects of his illness, challenged the Taoiseach to a one-on-one debate on the future of the Seanad.
And he was in no doubt as to who would win the showdown.
"I will debate it with him and will peel the layers of dishonesty and populism away from him and show the Irish people what is really being done to them so they will not be fooled another time, until they know what way to vote," he concluded.
It was a fiery speech, and everyone in the chamber listened in silence.