We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

David Norris, pictured at the handover of his personal archive to the National Library in 2007. Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Race for the Áras

National Library does not know if Norris clemency letters are in archive

The National Library received boxes of David Norris papers but won’t be opening them to the public or media without senator’s permission.

THE NATIONAL LIBRARY of Ireland has said it will not be releasing any material from the personal archive of David Norris “without the express permission” of the senator.

Norris donated personal papers and correspondence to the National Library in December 2007 but the National Library said today that it could not be sure if copies of controversial letters written by the senator pleading clemency for a former partner were among them.

The letters, thought to be six or seven in number, were written by Norris in August 2007 shortly before his former partner, Ezra Nawi, was being sentenced by an Israeli court for a statutory rape conviction.

Norris has refused to release the letters, variously citing the risk of a defamation case and legal advice which claimed the letters were covered by legal privilege.

This afternoon, responding to media queries about whether it could make Norris’s private archive available to the public, the National Library of Ireland said it had been given the archive on the provision that access to it be restricted.

The archive had only been handed over, it said, on the condition “that the Library would not allow access to the collection by readers and other members of the public, without the express permission of Senator Norris”.

Norris had only granted access to a small number of people, who a spokesperson explained had been working on a book about the Trinity College senator and academic.

“The Library has at all times respected Senator Norris’ wishes in this regard,” it said.

A spokesperson for the library could not confirm the status of the book being prepared by the team. The spokesperson also said that library staff could not tell whether copies of the clemency letters were among the “boxes upon boxes” of correspondence received by them from Norris.

Read: Norris says he will not have a spouse in the Áras if elected >

In full:’s coverage of the Race for the Áras >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.