herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Norris refuses to talk about controversial clemency letters

"MY views are well known, my record is well known, now please afford me the opportunity to walk down the street."

Later, he again tried to evade questions about his stance in the Israeli rape case.

"I heard today that the Tolka River for the first time in 100 years has Atlantic salmon in it. It makes Dublin the only capital city in Europe with three rivers with Salmon," he boomed.

"I'm going to give some good news every single day, and I just want to say I'm very honoured that the will of the people prevailed going into the race. Let the people decide."

When it was put to him directly that the clemency letters would chase him during the presidential campaign, the senator replied: "No, the letters won't chase me at all. The letters won't chase me. The people have decided".

Then quoting Parnell he added: "Let it go on".

Criticised

A number of councillors criticised Mr Norris over the sending of at least seven letters to both Irish and Israeli politicians seeking clemency for his former lover Ezra Nawi, who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.

City Hall went quiet last night as Independent councillor and abuse victim Damian O'Farrell said he could not "turn a blind eye to child abuse".

"There was a 15-year-old victim involved and Senator Norris has many questions to answer," he said.

Councillor O'Farrell told the Herald today that he has made several attempts to clarify Mr Norris's views on "the likes of the age of consent" but he has never been contactable.

"His phone doesn't seem to work, he doesn't respond to emails. We are talking about a 15-year-old boy here and Mr Norris's claims he instigated a relationship with a middle-aged man. I'm sorry, but for me these views are not want we want from a president."

Other councillors from a cross-range of parties called directly on Mr Norris to publish the controversial letters which he wrote in the nineties.

Fine Gael Councillor Naoise O'Muiri said he could not back Mr Norris because "I am a dad" and Fianna Fail councillor Paul McAuliffe stated that Mr Norris "must immediately publish any remaining letters and give a full account of his views on the age of consent".

The Trinity senator had earlier secured the support of Waterford City Council, having already been backed by Laois and Fingal. He became the seventh candidate to enter the race after former Eurovision winner Dana Rosemary Scallon also secured the backing of four local authorities.

hnews@herald.ie

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