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'Forget ageism, it's the truth' - Norris claims 77-year-old Michael D running for second term would be ill-advised

Norris himself ran against Michael D Higgins in the 2011 presidential election.

GAY CELEBRATION DUBLIN CASTLE II2A5751_90548038 David Norris Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

SENATOR AND FORMER presidential candidate David Norris has launched a blistering  attack on those who would let President Michael D Higgins run unopposed for a second term.

Norris threw his hat in the ring against President Higgins in the 2011 election.

Speaking in the Seanad, Norris suggested that the president’s age (he turned 77 in April) is an issue, but one that people are afraid to raise.

“With the best will in the world, do you want a president who’ll be 85 in the last year?” he said.

Because, forget about ageism, it’s the truth.

On Tuesday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin confirmed that his party would support Higgins’s candidacy should he seek a second seven-year term.

A consistent source of debate in recent times given the imminent end of his first term, Higgins has said that he will announce whether he will run for a second term in office in July.

‘Courage and guts’

The Irish Times reported last weekend that he had recently informed senior government figures of his intention to seek a second term in office.

The President can nominate himself for re-election; challengers however need the backing of either 20 TDs or senators, or four councils to contest the race.

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Norris meanwhile bemoaned the fact that people say they would run for the presidency if they didn’t have to face the incumbent president when doing so.

“I’m fed up listening to people say ‘I’d go only for Michael D’,” he said.

Why the hell don’t you have the courage and the guts to run? I ran, I was a great friend and colleague of Michael D.
I told him if I wasn’t running myself I’d be out on bus canvassing for you, that’s how highly I felt about him, but it didn’t stop me.

“I think we should encourage this kind of attitude,” he added.

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