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Norris backer talks of horror at clemency bid

The councillor who was due to nominate David Norris as presidential candidate has revealed how the senator's controversial clemency letter left him "completely horrified".

Dublin City Council Independent representative Damian O'Farrell -- who suffered abuse at the hands of a Christian brother -- today spoke for the first time about his "anger" and "hurt" after it emerged Senator Norris pleaded with an Israeli court for clemency for his former lover, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi.

It emerged that Mr Norris sent a series of letters to Israeli political and judicial figures pleading for mercy on behalf of Mr Nawi -- who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.

The letters prompted some of Mr Norris's backers to pull their support, which eventually led to the collapse of his initial presidential bid last month.

The Herald can reveal that Cllr O'Farrell had agreed with Mr Norris that he would be the councillor responsible for nominating him as Dublin City Council's choice of candidate.

Cllr O'Farrell, who was abused by a Christian Brother at his school in Sutton, wrote to Mr Norris expressing his anger at the contents of his letter to the Israeli authorities.

He told the Herald today: "It was extremely difficult for all those who suffered abuse to read what David Norris wrote in his letter. He showed no regard or empathy for the victim and his arguments for leniency were completely flawed.

"As someone who had so much regard for him, and was planning to nominate him in Dublin City Council, I was devastated by the letter... it was an affront to children and we simply could not have a President who held those views."

Mr Norris has remained tight-lipped on whether he will re-enter the presidential race.

He and his campaign team were unavailable for comment when contacted by the Herald.