Belfast Telegraph

Norris's Aras bid 'needs a miracle'

Senator David Norris has privately admitted it would take a miracle to launch a fresh bid for the Aras as he urged Independent TDs to back him.

The Independent met privately with non-party deputies for 15 minutes and claimed he wanted to re-enter the campaign amid a groundswell of public support.

But three of the four Independent TDs who withdrew their backing in the wake of controversy surrounding his clemency plea for his ex-partner during a rape trial have not reversed their decision.

Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath said he stands by his decision to withdraw support for the Senator's bid but added that there is some support for Mr Norris in Leinster House. "I genuinely can't call it at the moment. There is a group of people that would be very supportive of David," he said.

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 him - Finian McGrath, Catherine Murphy, Thomas Pringle and John Halligan - withdrew their support. Mr McGrath, Mr Pringle and Ms Murphy said they were standing by their decision, while Mr Halligan said he would make his views known after consulting advisers.

It is understood Mr Norris accepted in a private address to Independent TDs that it would be a miracle for him to get enough support to stand. He was also asked about the controversial letter to Israeli authorities, and when questioned if there were any more revelations yet to come, he said his conscience was clear.

Mr Norris needs the support of 20 TDs and Senators to secure a nomination to run for the presidency. It has been speculated he has support from about 10 Oireachtas members, and could turn to some members of Fianna Fail, which has opted not to field its own candidate, for support.

The Senator is due to appear on The Late Late Show on Friday night where he has said he will declare his hand. He has refused to comment until then, claiming he has struck an agreement with RTE television.


From Belfast Telegraph