Sunday, July 31, 2011

Norris Implosion

Update Sunday morning: Apologies if you have been led here by a Fox News style tag. I would never claim to be fair or balanced, more a shoot from the hip kinda person. I am not a journalist and am just writing what I think at any given moment. Feel free to disagree with me, you certainly won't be the first to do so!

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 was found pleaded guilty. Norris' fourth point is the most galling where he tries to claim that there is a difference between hetero and homosexual relations that excuse this act. I'm sorry, but in no circumstances is it acceptable for someone in their mid thirties to be carrying on with a 15 year old. That's me and a girl who has just done the Junior Cert. No way, end of.

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.


  1. typo: ireachtas should be Oireachtas

  2. I was led to this article by a tweet claiming it was "balanced and fair". I suppose it is once you accept that the Israeli judicial system is balanced and fair, especially towards a known leftist activist. Not saying I'm assuming Norris is innocent in this matter because I don't have all the facts. But just asserting I still don't have all the facts having read your article which is actually frought with innuendo that is anything but balanced.

  3. Another correction! He wasn't 'found' guilty, he pleaded guilty. There is a difference.

    Other than that, broadly, I agree with you.

  4. DeeMcD, corrected that. Thanks.

    Anon, I have stuck an update at the top. I would never claim to be balanced and fair. That was a description added by someone who I don't know.

  5. Oireachtas members use official stationary for fundraising - both personal and for the party. I long ago stopped being outraged by their abuse of it.

    However I do find it fascinating that a 20 year old letter from an Israeli court managed to be found and published.

    It costs millions to find letters to and from the Vatican regarding the actual abuse of children. Were millions spent to find this letter from Senator Norris? And who spent them? If not, how is it that we can get that letter for free and yet it costs millions to find letters regarding the systemic abuse of children?

    Seems odd.

    In the coming election I'm voting for Norris - even if I have to write his name in on the ballot. The shit that's being pulled to smear him is shameful and disgusting; it should not be rewarded.

  6. The problem is you're dismissing Norris as not meeting some hypothetical higher standard that you envision a President should have. Which is fine if you apply the rule equally to all candidates. For example in the case of Gay Mitchell, one might ask why he's not achieved anything of note in 30 years of being a politician. Or for Michael D of continual refusal to live on planet Earth.

    It's absurd that we allow politicians choose who we can vote for. And that may end up with you wishing you had not dismissed an option before looking at the full selection.