Over the last number of days quotes, opinions and beliefs on a range of societal
issues have been attributed to me, some correct and others grossly inaccurate.
To combat any further confusion or interpretation of my position on these matters
I have personally outlined below my opinions on the subjects raised.
As the longest serving Senator of the State I fight on a daily basis for a better
society for all, introducing legislation and structures to support the most
vulnerable citizens of our country. My record is testament to my commitment in
With your continued support I will carry on my campaign to become President of
Ireland, with even greater and renewed impetus, determination and strength; A
President who will represent its people.
Living in inner-city Dublin, I am acutely aware of the harmful affects that the
drug culture has had on my community and wider society. The blunt instrument
of criminalisation is not working because of the vast profits it generates for
organised crime. No country can face this problem on its own. I believe that there
needs to be a European led global response. Hard as it is to accept, my view is
that the welfare of the community, including the victims of drug abuse may be
better served by having access to quality controlled, legally prescribed drugs.
What is your view on prostitution?
My views and opinions on prostitution have always been directed towards the
welfare and protection of the women involved and the introduction of whatever
means necessary to ensure their safety and well-being.
What is your view on incest?
Incest is morally and medically wrong. It is dangerous and illegal and justifiably
What is your view on abortion?
The issue of abortion is always a sensitive, personal and emotive issue in our
society. I believe that access to information and education is the true champion of
reducing the instance of abortion. My hope is that both sides in this difficult moral
debate will respect each other’s differences.
The Catholic Church
I have very many Catholic friends and as a devout Christian, I have the greatest
respect for the commitment and faith shown by many people, the length and
breath of the country. My criticisms are not aimed at the honest decent men
and women of faith, who have played a significant role in the founding and
development of our country, but rather with the Vatican as a political entity and
institution and its interference in matters of state. Also as a gay man, I find the
Pope’s teachings on homosexuality negative and ill-informed.
I abhor child abuse in all its forms: psychological, sexual or emotional. I have
always campaigned for Children’s rights and was central in introducing the
appointment of guardian ad litem (mandatory legal representation for children) to
child protection cases in court to ensure that the rights of the child are properly
represented. I have also spoken out strongly in the Seanad on the recent
Roscommon Child abuse case and on all reports into child abuse. My record in
this area speaks for itself.
I have only met Cathal O’Searcaigh once on Wicklow St. in Dublin, I have no
other connection or relationship to him. I am a strong believer in natural justice
and if the allegations that were made in the documentary are true this is a matter
for the authorities to investigate and if necessary to prosecute if a crime has been
demonstrated. I feel that the trial by media that took place around this issue
would have frustrated any proceedings and that a court of law was the place to
have these discussions and not on afternoon chat shows.
Age of consent
In my view, the people best equipped to make these difficult moral and legal
decisions are the judiciary. Legislation based on the principle of consent
empowers the judiciary.
Consent based on age, has resulted in many instances in the inappropriate
criminal prosecution of minors.
This is the approach that I would personally support.
Pederasty is a term describing sexual relations between an older and a younger
man in ancient Greece. My experience as a young man in Dublin was that there
were no social outlets for gay men. I was left in ignorance by society and didn’t
consciously meet another gay male until I was in my 20s. The subject was
surrounded by silence and fear. Then I read Plato’s symposium, in which there is
a discussion about the nature of love. The greatest philosopher ever argued that
physical love was the gateway to spiritual love, very movingly it concludes with
the most beautiful young man in Athens, Alcibiades admitting that he has offered
himself sexually to Socrates in return for sharing in Socrates’ wisdom. This text
was preserved throughout the middle ages. I saw this enlightening approach and
experience as a much more interesting and preferable introduction to sexuality
than my own experience. That is my own personal opinion.
Spectrum of justice
As a legislator and a citizen, I have always upheld and supported the law. I
believe in justice delivered proportionately, across the spectrum of the relevant
crime. Sexual abuse is always wrong, but as in all crimes, there is a spectrum
and this is appropriately recognised in sentencing policy and throughout Irish law.
Media Reporting of Abuse
My comments relating to the impact of media reporting on the victims of sex
abuse being worse than the actual abuse have been misconstrued and have
caused hurt, for which I am saddened. I have always spoken out on behalf of the
victims of abuse and feel that anyone that has suffered any form of abuse, must
report it to the authorities and the perpetrators should face the full rigours of the
law. I would like to think that people would judge me on my track record on child
protection and my political contribution in this area.
Every candidate in every election has personal opinions, which they must set
aside in order to fulfil their public duties and I intend to be no different and to
reflect the broad opinions of a proud Irish nation.
Senator David Norris
9th June 2011