Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Norris launches presidential bid

Senator David Norris
Senator David Norris

Presidential hopeful Senator David Norris has claimed people are crying out for a political revolution as he officially launched his bid for Aras an Uachtarain.

Mr Norris said he was not running for the glory of high office but for the difference it could make to people's lives, claiming he would sell Ireland around the world.

And the prominent gay rights activist claimed his sexuality would not be an issue with voters.

He declared: "What people continue to say to me ... is that now is not the time for politics as usual, rather a time for political revolution, where the welfare of the Irish people comes first."

Mr Norris, who has served in the Seanad since 1987, said the role of the next president would be to foster innovation, creativity and look after the physical and mental well-being of the nation.

Every presidential hopeful needs the support of at least 20 TDs or senators or the backing of four city/county councils to be a candidate. President Mary McAleese's term in office ends in November.

Mr Norris said he had written to the Cathaoirleach of every council across the state and would speak to non-party deputies in the Dail. And he said he would accept support from members of any party. "The victory I seek will not be easy. I know that," he said. "The might of the political establishment will be marshalled against me, but I have spent a lifetime challenging the consensus and I look forward to that contest."

Mr Norris said he would set aside a substantial chunk of the 250,000 euro president's salary if elected for a special fund to make the presidency more accessible to the people.

"This is the people's money. And I will live as frugally as I can. But at the same time I must pay respect to the office," he said. Mr Norris said his sexuality has not been an issue as he canvassed councillors for their support.

"I don't see myself as a gay president. I see myself as a president who happens to be gay. I've been successful in Seanad Eireann. It has not been an impediment. I don't believe it will be now. This is the 21st century. I think the Irish people are a little bit bored with my sexuality."

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