Friday 23 February 2018

Presidential row must be resolved

THERE is something mildly unsettling about the controversy surrounding the presidential campaign of Senator David Norris. In any election campaign where there are few real issues, personality and personal history will always play a large role.

Brian Lenihan's campaign stumbled on these twin perils back in 1990. Former cabinet minister and EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn's personal attacks on Mary Robinson's alleged new-found interest in her family were an attempt to play the same card, as were some of the equally unjustified personal attacks on her successor Mary McAleese.

Like many of the other criticisms levelled at presidential candidates, the events which now threaten to derail the Norris campaign are shrouded in history and are difficult to understand. After all, it is a lamentably common practice for Irish politicians of all parties to petition on behalf of prisoners in a manner that would be construed as interference with the judicial system in most other places.

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