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Norris is limp as he's caught in lawyer and disability row

DAVID NORRIS was pocketing disability benefits for 16 years -- but can't tell us why, it was revaled today.

That and the fact that he wouldn't name the Israeli lawyer who allegedly told him not to release clemeny letters for his partner have holed his Presidenial campaign.

Sources close to the Norris camp now fear there could be even more revelations that will derail his candidacy.



payments

Mr Norris became tetchy and aggressive last night when grilled by TV3 host Vincent Browne about who the lawyer is that said he cannot release the controversial clemency letters.

The Trinity senator couldn't or wouldn't give the name of the Israeli lawyer who allegedly told him he cannot release letters he wrote on behalf of a man who raped a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Norris repeatedly dodged questions over why he won't release the seven letters he sent to Irish and Israeli politicians on behalf of former lover Ezra Nawi.

When it was put to him that he made up claims that he cannot release the letters for legal reasons, he fumed: "I haven't made that [legal advice] up...are you accusing me of lying?

"I said repeatedly, time and time, that I abhor with every fibre of my being the abuse of children -- sexual, emotional and psychological."

Mr Browne accused the senator of being "ambiguous" over the issue and challenged him to reveal who provided him with the legal advice.

Mr Norris replied: "That is an extraordinary question to ask me...

"Is that one of these questions that you introduce to make very good television? I think, Vincent, that I've answered all the questions on that and we've moved on."

The TV3 host revealed that he has correspondence with a law academic in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv which pours cold water on Mr Norris's reasons for not publishing the letters.

However the senator maintained that there is no "howler" in the letters and said that he is an "open book".

And there have been further damaging revelations today after it emerged Mr Norris has been receiving disability payments in tandem with his now €61,000 salary as a senator.

Mr Norris has refused to divulge what the payments were for but he has confirmed that he received them while out of work as a Trinity lecturer.

He admitted that the payment were around a quarter of his annual salary as a lecturer and stated that he isn't "getting anything like they get now".

Mr Norris says he got the disability or illness while on a cultural mission.



whiskey

"I got it while I was on a cultural mission and I got it from tainted water in Budapest.

"My joke was, if I was drinking whiskey, I'd be all right. It was the water that did me in. Water is a very dangerous substance. Trinity sent me to an independent examiner.

"I hope we're not going down the medical route of all this but I will do any medical test you want. I just think this is getting daft, it shows how open I am. My life is an open book."

Mr Norris's campaign spokesperson refused to comment when contacted by the Herald today.

hnews@herald.ie