Thursday 18 January 2018

Norris falls short of his Holy Grail despite help from Twelve Apostles

Senator David Norris poses for the cameras at Leinster House yesterday
Senator David Norris poses for the cameras at Leinster House yesterday

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE 'show of strength' by Independent Senator David Norris yesterday in his quest to get on the presidential election ticket has highlighted his weakness.

Four months after officially launching his campaign, Senator Norris still only has two-thirds of the support from TDs and senators he needs to get a nomination.

The senator proclaimed yesterday that he has 13 Oireachtas members agreeing to sign his nomination papers in September for October's election.

Mr Norris published the list of the 12 supporters, apart from himself, who will sign his papers in the autumn.

But he only has the backing of half the Independent TDs and senators in the Oireachtas.

And the Trinity College senator has yet to hold any talks with Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein about them supporting his nomination.

Mr Norris said he was certain he would get a nomination, despite lagging behind fellow Independent candidates, Sean Gallagher and Mary Davis, in getting the backing of local authorities.

Mr Gallagher has a promise of a nomination from five councils and Ms Davis has six, while Mr Norris is stuck on one. To get on the ticket, a candidate needs either 20 TDs and senators or four local authorities to nominate them.


"I don't consider that a failure," he said.

The senator said he was in discussions with other members of the Oireachtas.

But within political circles, it was regarded as highly significant that Mr Norris had failed to get the backing of a number of prominent Independents and those from the smaller group.

None of the United Left Alliance TDs, the group of five TDs led by Joe Higgins, is among his signatories. The ULA also includes Richard Boyd-Barrett, Joan Collins, Clare Daly and Seamus Healy.

Nor is Independent TD Shane Ross -- a long-time rival on the Trinity panel in the Seanad -- among his signatories.

Mr Norris is also without any of the TDs who were formerly members of the mainstream parties, such as Mattie McGrath, Michael Lowry, Michael Healy-Rae, Tom Fleming and Noel Grealish.

Although he did add Senator John Crown to his ranks, he only got two senators from the group of seven Independent senators nominated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny -- Mary Ann O'Brien and Marie Louise O'Donnell.

But the other members of that group, including Katherine Zappone, Fiach MacConghail, Eamon Coghlan and Jillian Van Turnhout, were missing from his list.

President Mary McAleese's husband, Senator Martin McAleese is not nominating anyone.

In the event that he fails to secure 20 signatures from the Independent ranks, Mr Norris will be reliant upon Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein lending him support to get on the ticket.

Irish Independent

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