Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Campaign stress 'triggered cancer'

Senator David Norris casts his ballot in a referendum on whether to abolish the country's upper house of parliament

Senator David Norris has claimed the stress of his presidential campaign triggered his cancer.

The gay and human rights campaigner revealed he is in good health while undergoing treatment for a tumour and awaiting a liver transplant.

The senator, who has represented Trinity College for decades, previously stated he believed the cancer was related to viral hepatitis which he contracted from tainted drinking water in eastern Europe in 1994.

But he said he also got sick during his campaign in the presidential election in 2011, when he claimed lies were told and that he "got slapped" every single day on television, on radio and in the newspapers.

"I didn't realise that but my doctor told me that I'd gone through a major nervous breakdown on my feet and that my mind was so strong that I just wouldn't accept it and I believe that's what triggered the cancer," said Mr Norris.

"I think that is a dreadful responsibility for the people who tell lies and who are so malicious."

He said while he is not "a whinger", false websites had been set up in his name which were scandalous and material circulated against him to county councils nationwide.

"I won't lie down under these things and I've always been a fighter," he added.

Mr Norris said he has already undergone embolisation for the tumour and is waiting to begin chemotherapy while on a transplant list.

He said he is in good health but tired after checking himself out of hospital to join the campaign against Government plans to abolish the Seanad.

Early tallies show the referendum is too close to call, with the no side slightly ahead especially in the capital.

The Senator admitted he is not afraid of death, adding the funeral he has planned for himself "will be the event of the season" but may not be as soon as he first anticipated.

Mr Norris said he has already recorded the first version of his own oration, based on his spiritual beliefs and not his political career.

"I always like to have the last word as you know," he said.

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