He may not have quite the online pulling power of President Higgins, but David Norris’s impassioned Senate speech on the Gaza crisis has already chalked up in the region of 250,000 views on YouTube.
That makes him by far the most successful Irish politician to appear on the global video-sharing site, easily beating the 98,000 views for fellow senator Fidelma Healy-Eames’ bizarre warning last February against so-called fraping (Facebook ‘rape’).
“Heavens!” Senator Norris exclaimed yesterday when he learned his speech had gone viral and that the overwhelming response to his speech was positive, judging from online comments. “That just shows the power of modern technology and the value of retaining the Senate. I am not surprised, though, at the positive reaction as, among the 1,000 or so emails I received after the speech, only two were negative.”
Saying he was “surprised but also very gratified,” Mr Norris also revealed that his recovery from a life-saving liver transplant operation last May is going well.
“It’s going a bit more slowly than I hoped and I am still a bit fragile. The main problem is lack of energy,” he said.
There was no evidence of that though, in the Senate as he thundered against the Government’s approach to the crisis and condemned American inaction.
“I had to stop for breath a few times,” he added. “That must have been a bit of a relief to my colleagues.”
He said his reason for seeking the recall of the Senate to discuss the crisis was to clarify the attitude of most Irish people to what Israel was doing in Gaza.
“I wanted the Senate to be recalled to discuss the crisis and I thought it was vitally important to put the position of the Irish people and of most politicians on the map and to make some kind of demonstration to make that happen.”
During his rousing address, Mr Norris described as shameful Ireland’s decision to abstain on a UN resolution that sought to investigate Israel’s military actions in Gaza as part of a collective EU decision.
He also condemned US President Barack Obama “for his utter inaction” in bringing about a peaceful solution and said he had “no doubt” that the recent Israeli attacks on schools had been deliberate.
The Irish record for YouTube interest in politicians remains with Michael D, who became an international celebrity after a US radio debate in which he lambasted US Republican broadcaster Michael Graham, with over 1.2m views.
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