Senator hails his ‘extraordinary comeback’

THERE were cheers from David Norris’s supporters in Dublin City Hall last night after he secured the last nomination he needed to contest the presidency.

The vote was comfortable in the end, with 30 councillors supporting the motion to nominate him, six opposing it and 11 abstentions.

While Mr Norris was jubilant afterwards, declaring he had made an “extraordinary comeback” in the spirit of Daniel O’Connell, he had to sit through some vehement criticism of his words and actions during the council meeting itself.

Many councillors spoke before the vote.

Fianna Fáil’s Mary Fitzpatrick said the party’s councillors were happy to support the motion as Mr Norris enjoyed “significant popular support”.

Sinn Féin’s Micheál Mac Donncha, while making it clear his party disagreed with Mr Norris on several issues, said it was important to “let the people, not councillors” decide.

In the same vein, he called for the “torturous” nomination process — requiring that a candidate secure the backing of either 20 Oireachtas members or four councils to get on the ballot paper — to be “set aside at the earliest opportunity”.

Mr Norris had been unable to get the backing of 20 Oireachtas members and so went down the council route, having the support of three by the time Dublin City voted last night.

With today the deadline for nominations, just one other council was scheduled to meet to consider his nomination.

Councillors’ criticism last night mainly dealt with Mr Norris’s remarks about underage sex and the clemency letters he wrote for his former partner, Ezra Nawi, who was convicted in Israel in 1997 of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

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