Taoiseach calls for an honest race

ENDA KENNY has urged all the presidential candidates to be “upfront” with the electorate as David Norris again refused to release controversial clemency letters.

The Taoiseach said people had “a right to know” about relevant issues before voting.

Mr Norris has released a letter he wrote to the Israeli supreme court in 1997 seeking clemency for former partner Ezra Nawi, who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.

But he has refused to release additional letters he wrote in the same case, saying he had been advised by Irish and Israeli lawyers not to do so.

“I have been legally advised that I could prejudice the situation if I revealed information because this was held in camera,” he said.

Mr Kenny said candidates had to be forthcoming with the electorate.

“The people are going to have their say about who they want to represent this country.

“I think all the candidates have to be upfront with the electorate and the people, because they want to know — and they have a right to know — if they are going to make a decision to cast their votes.”

Mr Norris was speaking during the first debate of the presidential campaign, which saw all seven candidates quizzed by broadcaster Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio.

In a separate interview on Today FM, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness suffered a blip when he was unable to name the Environment Minister or state the correct number of TDs in the Dáil.

Mr McGuinness defended his IRA past, stating: “[After Bloody Sunday] the people of Dublin went out and burned the British embassy. We didn’t have a British embassy to burn.

“So many of us joined the IRA… I believe we had a right to fight back against the British army.”

Picture: Presidential candidates, from left, Gay Mitchell, David Norris, Mary Davis, Sean Gallagher, Martin McGuinness, Dana Rosemary Scallan and Michael D Higgins, arrive at RTÉ studios yesterday. Picture: Colin Keegan

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