Launching his campaign in Dublin Writers Museum today, Senator David Norris said it was up to voters to decide if he had a credibility problem but stressed he had received a warm welcome around the country.
He has been criticised today after it was revealed that he has received disability payments for 16 years while working as a senator after he contracted hepatitis, he revealed today.
The independent candidate admitted he was paid €2,500 a month from Trinity College Dublin when he was diagnosed with the condition in 1994.
Mr Norris said he was not sure exactly how much he received per month from the university.
“My pension at the moment is approximately €2,500 per month so you can perhaps work it out from that,” he said.
“I think there have been some increases and some decreases so I think it would be dishonest of me to pretend I could give you an exact figure.
“If you wish to find it out you certainly have my permission.”
In a statement, Trinity College Dublin said data protection legislation prevents it from disclosing personal information in respect of staff members or former staff members.
“The college can confirm that Senator Norris worked as a lecturer in Trinity College from 1968 and he retired at normal retirement age in September 2009,” it said.
“In general, income protection insurers, who operate independently of the college, have rigorous medical assessment processes in place for the initial and continuing admittance of claims to their income protection schemes.”
Senator Norris added that he had since declined a small contributory state pension entitled to him.
He said the Irish people deserved a fair, open and transparent contest for the highest office in the land.
“It is my dream that by placing human rights at the heart of my campaign, by inviting people in from the margins of society, I will use the office of president to effect the changes that we all know, in our hearts, are right for this country,” he said.
The independent candidate said that while Ireland has had eight distinguished presidents, each had been a nominee of a major political party.
“The political establishment has grown comfortable in the knowledge that the office does belong almost by right to them,” he added.
“It does not. It belongs to the people and the choice of the president is the people’s choice.
“A vote for me is ’yes’ to a model of society where human rights and those consigned to the margins are of paramount concern.”