herald

Friday 17 August 2018

New bid to slur Norris as Aras race gets dirtier

IT'S already being dubbed the dirtiest presidential campaign in the State's history -- and there's still over a month to go.

The different factions in the presidential election went to war on each other this weekend, as the campaign intensified.

As Fine Gael launched a scathing attack on Sinn Fein candidate Martin McGuinness's IRA past, the campaign to stop David Norris's bid went into overdrive.

Internet allegations surfaced yesterday that the Independent senator had married his former lover, Ezra Nawi, in 1987.



TARNISH

The allegations claim to come from a book written by Victoria Freedman which contains pictures of the couple "after their wedding in Rahut, 1987".

An orchestrated campaign attempting to tarnish Mr Norris was underway on social network Twitter yesterday.

He will continue to frantically phone individual councillors this weekend, with the deadline for securing a nomination fast approaching.

The latest opinion poll again shows Mr Norris to be leading the race on 27pc -- nine points clear of his nearest rival Michael D Higgins.

He only needs three more councils to back him, and will know his fate by Tuesday with a number of meetings scheduled for early next week.

In a dramatic twist, Independent senator Jillian Van Turnhout has taken to Facebook to beg some of Mr Norris's supporters to stop sending her "hurtful messages".

The chief executive of the Children's Rights Alliance also appeared on 2fm's Ryan Tubridy Show to speak of her intimidation at the hands of anonymous supporters of Mr Norris.

Meanwhile, the bitter fallout over Mr McGuinness's candidacy has escalated, with Government minister Alan Shatter rowing in on the controversy.

Mr Shatter claimed that the Ulster MP was an "inappropriate" person to be president of Ireland.

His words sparked a backlash from Sinn Fein, with the party's Deputy leader and Dublin TD Mary Lou McDonald accusing him of "interfering in the democratic process".

The latest opinion poll has again sparked panic in the Fine Gael camp over Gay Mitchell's popularity.



behind



The Dublin MEP was placed at a lowly 10pc -- with only Dana Rosemary Scallon coming in behind him.

A senior Fine Gael figure last night told the Herald that Mr Mitchell chances of being elected were "just not there".

"He's just not increasing his popularity, his chances are just not there."

It appears almost certain that the race for president will involve seven candidates -- the most in the state's history.

Both Ms Scallon and Mr Norris are poised to get the backing of the councils, with a number of additional authorities agreeing to schedule emergency meetings.

hnews@herald.ie

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