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David Norris speaking to the media earlier this week. Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Race for the Áras

Norris: election of gay president would 'signal something very important'

Norris said that although being a president who was gay would be irrelevant to him, it would be noticed internationally.

DAVID NORRIS HAS said it would be noticed internationally if he was elected as the first president of Ireland who is gay next week and said it would signal “very clearly” that the country had moved into the 21st century.

The independent candidate, who has not campaigned on the issue of his sexuality, spoke about it in an interview with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today saying that although it is irrelevant to him it would be noticed internationally.

He drew the comparison with the election of Mary Robinson as the first woman president of Ireland in 1990.

He said: “The whole context would be important. When Mary Robinson was elected, the first woman president of Ireland, there was international media attention.

“I have never said I was campaigning as a gay candidate. But there’s no doubt I would not be a gay president, I would be a president who happened to be gay, it’s irrelevant to me.

But it would be noticed and it would signal very clearly that we’d moved into the 21st century, into the second decade. So that’s the context. It would signal something very important.

Norris again made a point of saying that he was a “real independent” drawing comparisons with current frontrunner Seán Gallagher whose past membership of Fianna Fáil was addressed in last night’s bilingual debate on TG4.

Norris said that Gallagher’s previous political allegiances needed to be higlighted.

“I think it’s something that needs to be said because I think it is very important to know that being politicially independent is not a flag of convenience,” he said. “It’s not something that you can pick up and drop when it suits you.

I am politically independent, I’ve had 25 years in the senate as an independent.

“I’ve shown myself to be a real independent,” he added.

Norris also used the interview to say that if elected he would travel to each of the 26 counties of the Republic, selecting and championing them and giving them the benefit of his “capacity for lateral thinking.”

He also admitted his campaign had been through difficult times during  the election and blamed it on “certain elements” who saw the issues which have been raised about his past as “entertainment.”

#Áras11 diary: Where the candidates will be today

The TG4 Presidential Election debate, as it happened

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

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