Only a few weeks ago I was convinced that David Norris would get his nomination sorted out and appear on the ballot for the Presidential Election in October. How times have changed, especially in the last 24 hours. Following the no show at Magill, the resignation of key members of staff and finally the release of the letter to the Israeli court David Norris' plans to become Uachtarán na hÉireann have been well and truly scuppered.
Ignoring the whole Zionist conspiracy angle which I don't buy into at all, especially the Shatter as sleeper Mossad agent (!!) bit, there are a few points worth noting in this sorry tale.
Firstly, Norris' use of official Seanad paper in his letter was wrong, especially when he used his membership of the Foreign Affairs Committee to try to add to the importance of his message. He was not acting on behalf of the Committee and, honestly, not really acting in the interests of his electorate either. While the Bobby Molloy and Kathleen Lynch stories, probably two amongst many other such instances, show that politicians make unwise representations but the standard for being President has to be above these sorts of actions.
Secondly, he seems to be trying to come up with mitigating circumstances for statutory rape. Whatever about our morals and thoughts on the age of consent, the law in Israel at the time was pretty clear. It had a small set of conditions which had to be met to allow sex with someone underage one of which was a closeness in age. In this case there was about 20 years between the two parties. Therefore the exception didn't apply and Yizhak
Thirdly, he should have been up front with his own team about this issue from day one. I have not been impressed with much of the Norris campaign so far - it seems fairly disorganized and not really prepared to take on the main parties. For Norris to leave this timebomb hidden from his own staff is crazy. If they had the information they could have been on top of the story. Instead they rightly called it a day. I certainly don't blame them if this is the sort of issues are going to be dumped on you.
It will also be interesting to see what happens to the 15 names that have already committed to nominating him. So far I have only seen Senator John Crown come out and say that he is still willing to sign his papers. Like his campaign team, his Oireachtas colleagues should have been treated with a bit more respect. Having heard the retreat being sounded by Fianna Fáil on Saturday View today, Norris' prospects of getting the magic twenty are disappearing rapidly.
I don't want this to turn into an anti-Norris rant. I have met David on several occasions when our paths crossed, mainly with the Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups and he has always been extremely supportive of their work. During the Seanad election campaign we met a couple of times and even though we were supposed rivals he always had a kind word of encouragement. As a person he is extremely likable, but as a President I now have serious doubts. There are too many unanswered questions and probably more to come out.