I have always liked David Norris as a person, but as a candidate there are questions that public officials need to answer - And watching the Prime Time interview, I was not happy with the way he deflected and avoided valid questions on correspondence to do with the letters written in support of Ezra Nawi, a former boyfriend of David Norris - and let us not forget this - convicted of statutory rape.
Deflection on the grounds of disclosure or a trial being held in camera are no excuse.
Names, dates and locations can be excised and redacted, but details and context are valid questions.
Its not the first time that he has tried to intervene in a similar case.
In 2008, Norris called for a documentary, Fairytale of Kathmandu, to be postponed. The film documented visits to Nepal by poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh, during which he is alleged to have had sex with young men - about 16 years of age.
It questioned whether he was sexually exploiting the boys.
I have always felt very uncomfortable about the case, its not really clear - but clearly a charity worker having sex with 16 year olds (regardless of gender) is failing in duty of care, and remember here in Ireland the legal definition of a child is someone under the age of 17 for the purpose of the sexual offences (juristiction) act 1996
The sexuality of a person does not matter, but abuse of a minor does.
As an atheist I have to say for all the senators protestations about strong christian values, he would do well to remember Matthew 18:6
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea
Certain crimes should not and cannot be forgiven.
An adult who abuses a minor through violation of trust, position etc. is a criminal.
It is especially important to point out both cases involved poor, dependent persons of a foreign culture.
Various bleating by Norris about the pederasty in classical Greece with such echoes to a trial like this is both unwise, and I feel sinister.
We need more transparency in our body politic, not more cover-ups.
On that note from the Irish Independent on the 5th we learned that David Norris received a disability payment for 16 years while out of work as a Trinity College lecturer -- even though he was well enough to be a "full-time" senator for the entire period.
Mr Norris confirmed to the Irish Independent he received the payment, but could not specify exactly how much it was worth. He also initially refused to say what his disability was.
The payment began in 1994 and ended in 2010.
Over the period, while claiming disability he also received a senator's salary of about €61,073 and an annual leader's allowance -- the €23,383 Independent senators receive in unvouched expenses every year -- for his Seanad work.
However, he initially would not say what the disability was, and insisted it did not stand in his way of being president, insisting he is in "perfect health".
So at first, Senator Norris refused to comment on the disability payments - this is the clarification (?) recently released.
At his official campaign launch this morning, he has revealed the payment is currently around €2,500 a month. It is non- A, B or C Hepatitis, contracted from drinking water in Central Europe in 1994......left him so tired he was unable to do his job lecturing in Trinity
“I was medically advised it was not possible for me to undertake the stress of the very intensive lecturing and tutorial duties that I had,”
Mr Norris said it was the university authorities who decided to place him on permanent disability and replace him with another academic, giving him time to focus on the Seanad.
So well enough to lecture in the Senate, but not the School?
He did concede that if it were now he may think differently about taking the payment while having another job: He insisted his health would not be an issue for him to become President
Thats nice to know, so he can work then - even though it seems he may still receive disability payments!
“For three years I did not take any alcohol at all, which you’re advised, with the small exception every Sunday at St Patrick’s Cathedral.” What is it with religion again??
Further in that interview in relation to the abuse case Mr Norris again stressed he was acting on legal advice from Israeli and Irish lawyers .......which stops him disclosing controversial clemency letters he wrote for an ex-partner convicted of statutory rape.
“This case involved real people,” he said.
“It changed their lives and left deep scars.
Real people, real scars?? No Shit Sherlock!!!
Letters can always be released after censorship - and it seems all the correspondence related to gaining clemency for the abuser - so far as we can tell, not having seen the correspondence.
But, as with the disability payments - this was done on advice - as were the disability payments but when asked to comment initially he asked not to go into the disability payment, saying there "was a whole story about that".
Im sure there is!
For the second time in a Presidential campaign we see that this may involve (another) rapid verbal u-turning change of tune - perhaps after "mature recollection"
GUBU speak is alive and well in Joyces Dublin
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