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Norris says his entry averted uncontested Áras election

David Norris says his early declaration in the Presidential race stopped political parties from putting forward an agreed candidate.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

DAVID NORRIS has insisted that his early declaration of interest for this year’s Presidential election averted the possibility of the political parties agreeing on a single candidate and avoiding an election.

Norris told RTÉ Radio 1′s This Week programme that the political parties “were discussing an arranged candidate” and that “there might not have been a race at all, only for my entry.”

The Trinity College senator – who formally announced his intention to run in this year’s election back in March – also said that continued discussion about remarks given in the past had denied him the chance to fight a full campaign.

“I’ve been the only candidate who hasn’t been allowed to make a positive pitch, because of this blurring,” he said.

Norris said this year’s election had become “something of a circus” and that he had personally suffered in opinion polls because of “a lot of negative publicity” which had been directed at him.

He also had harsh words for RTÉ, who he said had only contacted him 30 minutes before it broadcast an audio recording of his 2002 interview with Helen Lucy Burke, in which he discussed his views on pederasty.

“Those tapes were dealt with in 2002, they were dealt with again five months ago, and now I’m moving on.”

The senator also denied that he was now out of the running to win the presidency, saying he had overcome odds of 10,000/1 to even secure a nomination at one point, and that “the only poll that matters is next Thursday”.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail today, Sean Gallagher called on candidates to wage a “clean campaign” for the last days coming up to the election – while Michael D Higgins told reporters he was a more substantial candidate than his poll-topping rival.

He said voters would focus on where the two main candidates had been for the last fifteen years – pointing to his own political record and Gallagher’s business history.

Read: Norris insists: There is nothing new in Burke tapes

Your Say: Should the media have scrutinised the presidential candidates so closely?

Read: Gallagher extends lead in latest Áras opinion polls

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

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Gavan Reilly

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