AN ONLINE CAMPAIGN for David Norris to re-enter the presidential race will step up its drive for the independent senator’s name to be on the ballot this week.
The We Want Norris campaign has so far collected 6,500 signatures online and now plans to petition members of the public in Dublin, Galway, Cork and Limerick this Friday with the hope of having a total of 20,000 online and offline petition signatures.
It comes as a new opinion poll published yesterday found that 18 per cent of people would vote for Norris to be the ninth president of Ireland, despite him not having been in the race for the past month.
Norris withdrew from the presidential race at the beginning of August after controversy arose over a letter he wrote appealing for clemency for his former partner Ezra Nawi who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy in the 1990s.
Norris appeared to acknowledge such support with his Twitter account updated yesterday for the first time since 2 August:
Speaking to TheJournal.ie the We Want Norris campaign organiser Ronan Mooney said that the campaign was set up not only to get Norris back in the race but to highlight “how undemocratic and how unfair the current process is.”
“It’s ridiculous that Irish people cannot directly select a candidate in 2011. One in three people who were surveyed by the Sunday Independent want to see David Norris on the ballot paper,” Mooney said. “That’s a significant number considering he hasn’t been running a campaign.”
We’re not saying he should or shouldn’t be president, we just want the people to have their say. Let the Irish people judge if David Norris should be president.
If he comes out and says he’s not re-entering we will be first to say we regret that, but it doesn’t change the fact that Irish people should be able to nominate a candidate directly to run for the presidency.
Mooney also called on those wishing to see Norris back in the race to lobby their local representative and said that already the 21,000 people who had ‘Liked’ the campaign on Facebook were receiving encouraging words of support from TDs and senators but he would not divulge names.
“The Irish people have a right to have their say and our elected officials have a responsibility to make sure this election is fair and democratic. An absence of David Norris from the ballot paper at this stage will bring the whole election into disrepute,” he added.