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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Israel and Labour deny plot against Norris as backers consider support

More details emerge about the scandal that has rocked the independent Senator’s campaign.

David Norris
David Norris
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

DAVID NORRIS’ PRESIDENTIAL hopes remain in the balance today as both Israel and the Labour party have been forced to deny a plot to end his Áras dream.

The independent senator has been under pressure after it emerged over the weekend that he wrote a letter, using Seanad headed paper, seeking clemency for his friend and former partner Ezra Yizhak Nawi who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy in the Israeli courts in 1997.

Several of his staff have resigned over the matter whilst of the 14 TDs who pledged support to him only five have reaffirmed that support.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland independent TD Thomas Pringle said he was consulting his supporters over the matter. Three others have suggested they will decide over the coming days whilst another five cannot be contacted, RTÉ reports.

The Irish Independent reports that the Israeli embassy has been forced to deny claims it is behind  the emergence of the letter from 1997 in which Norris asked an Israeli court to show “mercy” to Nawi.

The Labour party presidential hopeful Michael D Higgins has also denied that he or anyone else in his campaign leaked the information about Norris and the letter, according to the Irish Times.

The blogger who broke the story a week ago has revealed he has been deluged with hate mail as a result of his actions. John Connolly told the Irish Independent that he is a Zionist and had a problem with Norris’ “outspoken criticism of Israel”.

He said he was inspired to investigate the letter after he was tipped off by a person he had been friends with in Ireland, admitting that person may have been a supporter of Higgins.

Meanwhile, the Irish Daily Mail today reports that Norris continued his relationship with Nawi for four years after the conviction was handed down. In 2002, Norris is reported to have told journalist Joe Jackson that his relationship with Nawi lasted 26 years and ended in 2001.

The story has reached Israeli where Hareetz is reporting that the “popular Irish politician’s presidential ambitions” are being derailed by the controversy over his relationship with Nawi.

In a TheJournal.ie poll, 77 per cent of voters have said that this latest controversy will affect Norris’ bid for the presidency.

Read more: Norris: Who’s supporting him now? >

Read more: Leaked Seanad letters show Norris sought clemency for former partner – report

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