An Irish senator has ended his bid to become Ireland’s first homosexual president over revelations that he pleaded for clemency for his former partner over the statutory rape of 15-year-old boy.
David Norris had already been at the centre of a storm for saying that “there can be something said for” what he called “classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks”.
Now it has emerged that he had written to Israeli authorities in 1997 on Irish parliamentary notepaper asking for clemency for his former partner, Ezra Yitzhak Nawi, who had been convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.
In withdrawing from the Irish presidential race, Mr Norris claimed he had “demonstrated that it is now possible for a gay person to be seen as a viable candidate for the highest office in the land”.
Mr Nawi and Senator Norris were partners for the “best part of 30 years”, the former presidential candidate has reportedly said.
Speaking outside his home on Tuesday, the Senator also said: “I deeply regret the most recent of all the controversies concerning my former partner of 25 years ago, Ezra Nawi.
“The fallout from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in my political and personal life. It is essential that I act decisively now to halt this negative process.”
In May comments Senator Norris had made about paedophilia were republished.
During an interview with a current affairs magazine in 2002 Senator Norris said, “in terms of classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks, for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man to adult life, there can be something said for it”, though he took pains to stress that this did not appeal to him.
However he said that when he was younger he would have “greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities”.