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Quitting Seanad is not on the agenda

EMBATTLED David Norris has vowed to stay on as a senator despite critics calling on him to quit Irish politics completely.

Mr Norris was today considering his political future following his dramatic exit from the presidential race.

However, he has no intentions of quitting the Seanad.

"Time will tell. This Government may last four [more] years. At that stage I will be 71. I am certainly not giving up now. There are too many things I am interested in," he said.

Yesterday afternoon saw the senator announce that he had decided to withdraw from the presidential race.

The 67-year-old admitted "human error" in trying "to help a person I loved dearly" following revelations that he wrote a letter of clemency to an Israeli court on behalf of his former partner, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi.

Speaking outside his home on North Great George's Street, Mr Norris described the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy by Mr Nawi as "disgraceful".

"I deeply regret the most recent of all the controversies concerning my former partner, Ezra Nawi.

"The fallout from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in my political and personal life."

The Herald revealed yesterday that Mr Norris spent the weekend frantically phoning supporters to establish whether he should continue in the race.

We further revealed that Mr Norris told supporters late on Monday night that he had decided to pull the plug on his presidential dream.

Sources close to the senator said today that the decision by close ally, TD Finian McGrath, to withdraw support was a "devastating blow".

And the Herald can reveal that Norris's former supporters are now scrambling to find a new independent candidate.

Mr McGrath said "four or five" names are possible.

See pages 12-13