health serif;”>Presidential candidate David Norris speaks to Conor Fox
Independent candidate Senator David Norris formally launched his campaign to secure a nomination on March 14th. At the time, according to Norris himself, a bookkeeper stated odds of ten thousand to one that Norris would be on the ballet in October. Norris jokes that he is “sorry I didn’t put a hundred euro on it, I’d be a millionaire now”.
In his view, Norris is “the only true Independent” and feels that this is revealed by the process of receiving nominations which he argues is “totally undemocratic.” The senator told the College Tribune that all the political parties “were doing their best to find an agreed candidate and [he] spoiled this little game for them.” By launching early in March, Norris believes that he “forced the election through [his] energetic campaign” which “gave the choice back to the people.”
His attempts to secure the support of twenty members of the Oireachtas were well publicised in the national media, as were the scandals which surrounded him. Norris’s withdrawal from the race on August 2nd and subsequent re-entry on the 21st of September were widely discussed. When asked if he would change anything if he was able to return to the official launch of his campaign, the candidate’s answer was a succinct “no.”
There are three pillars supporting Norris’s theme for his potential presidency: culture, enterprise, mental health and well-being. The latter pillar is to the forefront, as he believes that it is the welfare of the Irish people that matters the most and in his opinion “a good government consists of making the welfare of the people your first priority.” He states that he has worked with a large number of people affected by the issue of suicide and was part of the group whose efforts led to the decriminalisation of suicide in Ireland.
Norris has spent the last year learning more about the topic and in particular the language which surrounds it. According to his official presidential campaign website, if elected, the senator will ‘shine a light on this issue within Irish’ society.’
Favourite band/musician: The Rolling Stones and Imelda May
Campaign theme song: ‘All I wanted’ – In Tua Nua
Three famous people: Mary Robinson, the Dalai Lama and Jonathan Swift.
Superpower: The capacity to make people happy
Norris has stated that he will not take the majority of the President’s salary if nominated but will “use it to make the presidency more accessible” and to promote these issues. For the first twenty six months of the presidency, he aims to visit each of the twenty six counties in succession and “champion” them. The flag of whichever county he is visiting that particular month will fly beside the tri-colour on Áras an Uachtaráin. During these visits, Senator Norris would seek to visit the local authorities, but in particular, voluntary welfare organisations. He will “celebrate their triumphs and show solidarity with them in their difficulties.”
Norris expresses the view that while the office of the President does have a relevance to the young people of Ireland, this relevance is created by whoever holds the office. It is the work he has done with youth across Ireland, creating and supporting voluntary organisations, as well as his years spent lecturing in Trinity College that he thinks “would help to make it relevant.”
The senator mentions that he has spoken and visited nearly every university and Institute of Technology in Ireland and that “the students know me. They know my record.” Despite the age requirement of thirty five, he believes it’s possible for a President to understand young people, “it’s all to do with imagination.”
Senator David Norris believes he can win the election on October 27, “I can win this race with the support of people who understand my track record, what I have done and the reality.”