David Norris planning Aras comeback
Senator David Norris has claimed he will make the biggest comeback in Irish politics in a fresh bid for the Aras.
The Independent revealed he planned to re-enter the presidential campaign, but admitted it depended on getting the 20 signatures to back him.
It was the second shock announcement of the night after Sinn Fein announced it would endorse Martin McGuinness as its candidate to become Irish president.
Senator Norris told The Late Late Show he believed the Irish people should be allowed to judge him. "They may not want me but I think at least they should be allowed to make that choice," he added.
Poll topper Mr Norris dropped out of the race for the Aras early last month after it emerged he had appealed to Israeli authorities for leniency for his ex-partner who was convicted of statutory rape.
The Independent senator wrote a letter of clemency in 1997 for Ezra Nawi, who was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.
Four Independent TDs who were backing Sen Norris - Finian McGrath, Catherine Murphy, Thomas Pringle and John Halligan - withdrew their support.
Mr McGrath, Mr Pringle and Ms Murphy have said they were standing by their decision, while Mr Halligan said he would make his views known after consulting advisors.
Mr Norris, who needs the support of 20 TDs and senators to secure a nomination to run for the presidency, would not reveal how many politicians were backing him. But he said he had received 3,000 emails and hundreds of letters of support in recent weeks.
Mr Norris said the public loved a comeback, like the flattened boxer who delivers a killer punch. "This could be biggest history in Irish political history," he added. "I think people like that, they like the energy of it, and they like the vision and they like the fact I achieved certain things."