A homosexual senator who withdrew from the Irish presidential race amidst a storm of controversy earlier this year has re-entered the contest.
David Norris withdrew his bid in August following revelations that he had pleaded for clemency for his former partner over the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.
He had already faced criticism for saying that “there can be something said for” what he called “classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks”.
The Senator, who does not support an age of consent, has also suggested that people had become hysterical about paedophilia. And he said that “in some instances” child sex abuse victims are “more damaged by the condemnation than the experience”.
The Senator, who could become Ireland’s first homosexual president, re-entered the race last month.
However, his unwillingness to publish letters he wrote seeking clemency for his Israeli former partner has created a media frenzy.
He released one letter in August but said that lawyers in Israel and Ireland had advised him against releasing any more.
In July Mr Norris was the frontrunner in the presidential race, but a poll from earlier this month revealed that he had fallen to fifth position.
According to documents stored in Ireland’s National Library Mr Norris has previously said that his “greatest desire as a child was to be molested”.
Mr Norris made the comments whilst addressing 200 delegates at a conference of the Union for Sexual Freedom in Ireland in 1975.
The typewritten minutes showed that Mr Norris spoke at the conference on behalf of the Irish Gay Rights Movement.
During an interview with a current affairs magazine in 2002 Mr 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”.