Norris goes from hero to zero

Front runner in the Race to the Aras has suffered an effectively fatal blow to his campaign with the news that he wrote  a letter to an Israeli court pleading for clemency for his former partner who was awaiting sentencing having been found guilty of statutory rape of a 15 year old Palestinian boy. The letter was written on Seanad headed note paper. A number of prominent members of his election team have already resigned and the Senator has conceded that his chances at even gaining a nomination would now appear to be very “slim.” Is it now a head to head race between Michael D Higgins and Gay Mitchell, or can another runner emerge to seize the moment and succeed from the score and one year reign of the Marys?

  • pippakin

    That will do it and serve him right. What an idiot and in using Seanad headed paper he appears to have been attempting to use both the Seanad and his position to assist his purpose. A pity he appeared the best of a poor bunch.

  • lamhdearg

    Pride, before a fall.

  • Rory Carr

    I have never been a supporter of Senator Norris’s campaign for the presidency. Quite frankly I just don’t like the man, regarding him as a dilletante, a faux intellectual and one whose class allegience would ultimately clash directly with mine and therefore be inimical to progress. I find it somewhat ironical however that his team of loyal workers are now deserting him because he has been caught out in a charitable act of great loyalty in that he placed his public position and reputation in such a way as to aid a former friend and lover in great distress.

    I should have thought that such an action was a mark of Senator Norris’s own loyalty and worthiness as a friend.The charge against his former partner does not reflect upon the Senator (unless unfounded inferences are being drawn in the light of his earlier comments on man/boy sexual liaisons) and indeed any true friend would surely act in a similar way even were the charge to have been murder -a crime I suspect that many find less serious than sexual offences.

    Poor Senator Norris, to have his loyalty to his friend rewarded by the disloyal ship-to-shore scurrying of his own friends.

  • sonofstrongbow

    When it comes to judging people it seems the pink lobby is every bit as tough as fundamentalist Chiristians.

  • I have to agree with Rory Carr. I never took to him. Anybody who has ever read “Ulyses” and dresses up for Bloomsday is a faux intellectual of the orst kind. And there is really no level o which David Norris has impressed me.
    For obvious reasons, people who should really have known better have allowed themselves/ourselves to be mute our criticisms. We cant openly say “I just dont like him”.
    Its ironic that Ireland is thankfully mature enough to have a homosexual in Phoenix Park but it would be disasterous (even before these revelations) to have someone who is little more than a fop.
    Nobody……male or female, heterosexual or homosexual could write a letter (on Seanad notepaper or other) in mitigation for a paedophile rapist.
    Charitable act? Well as we have seemingly agreed on Slugger recent Donegal and other Slugger stories) a charitable hand to paedophiles is just not possible…….and certainly not for one intent on having a political career. That kind of “charity” even to a former partner is unlikely to be rewarded at the Polls.

    It would be unfortunate if people used this act of Norris as an excuse for “gay bashing”. This was an act of David Norris and I read nothing further into it.
    But it would also be unfortunate and misleading if some people chose to wrap themselves in martyrdom and choose to interpret this as an attack on homosexual rights.
    Its not.
    No more or less than criticising a politicians judgement in writing a letter urging clemency for Gary Glitter is an attack on heterosexual rights.

  • Nunoftheabove

    No great loss when all’s said and done, I have regarded Norris as something of a professional bullshitter for some time. I can remember him talking endless fatuous nonsense about the North and about other political – as well as arts and culture matters – since I ever remember hearing/seeing him on RTE in the eighties.

  • Alias

    I guess Harry Flashman has earned an “I told you so” moment…

  • Amazing, not the letter, but that an Israeli was convicted for an assault on a Palestinian.

  • AntrimObserver

    Davenewman wrote,

    “Amazing, not the letter, but that an Israeli was convicted for an assault on a Palestinian”

    Yeah, that part of the story struck me too, D.

    But knowing the vile Isrealis, the charge was probably for associating with a Palestinian in the first place.

    Israel is an aparthied shithole.

    A Jewish state? Why’s that any better or acceptable than ‘a white state’ or ‘a Protestant state’? It certainly removes it from the democracy category, no?

  • Rory Carr

    I find myself in the rather odd position of defending someone whose political career for the presidency I am happy to see derailed. I am just not so taken with the manner in which it has been brought off the tracks as I find it laudable rather than condemnatory that a man should come to the aid of a friend in trouble even where the circumstances might damage himself.

    I am certainly not taking the line that an attack on Norris at this time is an attack on homosexual rights (whatever they may be) but nor do I make the mistake of Fitzjameshorse in labelling Norris’s friend a paedophile rapist.” He apparently was charged with “statutory rape” of a 15-year old youth which would indicate a) that it was consensual (hence “statutory”) and b) given the boy’s post-pubertal age, it was most certainly not an act of paedophilia, a term which is given to much misuse by shock-horror merchants these days.

    But, really it matters little of what his friend had been accused – it is not Norris himself that has been accused – and if Norris is guilty of anything here it is surely of being steadfast in adversity towards a friend and that is a quality to which we all might well aspire.

    Poor Norris – like Wilde he finds himself in his hour of need surrounded by unfaithful Boysies when he dearly needs a Robbie Ross figure.

  • I fully take Rory Carrs point and acknowledge that he is professionally better qualified than me on precise issues.
    In part my earlier comment was an attempt to stave off support for Norris when just a few weeks ago the reasonable mainstream Slugger view (as well as kneejerk the anti clerical view) was scathing on offering any kind of support to paedophiles.
    Ive not seen Mr Carr around for a while (apologies if Im wrong) but if he saw my opinions on that thread, he might see a context.
    I did not want to see a situation where “liberals” were condemning on other threads what they might find “different” on the Norris thread.

    In the previous thread I referenced “Lord” Longford, a decent charitable man made to look ridiculous by the tabloid press (spot the irony in that!) for daring to offer a crumb of comfort to the most despised of criminals……child killer Myra Hindley.

    Nobody……in public or private dare offer a crumb of support to anyone convicted of any paedophile related charge. It would be the end of any Home Secretary. Of any politician. Whatever the charitable instincts of patently decent people, they dare not voice that charity in public without electoral consequence.

    Likewise anyone who suggests (as I hope I did) that Society cannot conduct any reasonable debate around the treatment, punishment and re-settlement of paedophiles.

    To be frank…..laws change. And for the most part reasonably so (Homosexual acts for example).
    But the law seems to state that a person under 16 in Britain and Ireland cannot consent to sex…..even though the evidence arounds us suggests many do without the Law intervening.
    In that sense changing the law from under 16 to under 15 is arbitrary. It de criminalises an act on one day which was illegal the previous day.

    But its not solely a question of Age.
    And Im talking of Heterosexuality and Homosexuality.
    Its a question of Power.
    Any act between a 50 year old man and a 16 year old girl win Belfast might well be as “legal” as an act between two 16 year olds.
    But surely we have a problem with the “power” relationship.
    And likewise with sex tourism …….a 50 year old man and a 13 year old girl cos thats “legal” in wherever.

    It is not I suggest unreasonable to suggest that a relationship between a middle aged (possibly sophisticated, possibly rich) westerner and a (possibly unsophisticated, possibly poor) 15 year old is at best predatory, and given that a 15 year old cannot legally assent to the sexual act……clearly illegal and clearly an act of paedophilia (in terms of most lay people).

    David Norris is no Frank Pakenham. Norris is a foppish self publicist. He is as entitled to make a political career as anyone else. But has to face the consequences of his undoubted charity in a political and public climate where even the whiff of paedophilia is in the air.

  • lamhdearg

    Rory, i agree with you on the peado (15) angle. But is Norris not guilty of using his position to help a sex criminal not enough, as for people abandoning him, the cartoon version is monty burns spitting out the three eyed fish, the game is up.

  • CW

    I didn’t know Alexei Sayle was running for president!

    http://dreamingarm.wordpress.com/

  • Independent Ulster

    Chris,

    I posted a link to this yesterday in the Irish Times on another thread and got a yellow card?

    I also queried the yellow card with Pete Baker and got no answer. Any ideas?

    Seems strange that cards get handed out with no explanation?

  • feismother

    David Norris taught me many years ago. Based on that experience I would have always had doubts as to whether he would make a good president. He was very entertaining and informative about what he enjoyed (Joyce) and just ignored everything and everybody else. I don’t think he would apply himself to the tedious minutiae of everyday presidential life.

  • No idea, “Independent Ulster”.
    Seemingly some people cannot be attacked and people who are attacked with impunity.
    Perhaps the key is that subjectively they are deemed to deserve it.
    It seems to be an established fact that anything is ok as long as its true and for as long as its true.
    For example any clause after the name “Gerry Adams” can refer to his honoury “British” titles……….as long as it was/is true.
    You might like to adopt this form of words in relation to Senator Norris……..”Senator David Norris, who wrote a letter on Seanad notepaper in mitigation for a former partner who…………”.
    That form of words cannot be objected and is true and likely to remain so for ever. And nobody can possibly object because of the Adams precedent.

  • Rory Carr

    Lamhdearg asks, “But is Norris not guilty of using his position to help a sex criminal not enough…”

    “Not enough to what?” I might ask. But more pertinently I think that we should in all charity recognise that Senator Norris was not using his position “to help a sex criminal” in the sense that he was aiding or condoning any criminality commited by his friend* but rather that he acted in a true and loyal fashion (as I trust any of us would have the good grace to do) towards a very close friend (and, we are told, former lover). In that regard I salute him. He is an example to us all of how friendship should be and the costs that a true exercise of it may bring.

    In any case Norris has done no more nor less than many a local politician does for one his errant constituents (whom the TD or MLA or MP may not even know personally – but his aunt did a bit of canvassing come election time, kind of thing, ) as they find themselves up in front of the beak for much more anti-social behaviour than Norris’s friend.

    But, yes, the taint of sex about all this may well reverberate (indeed already has) to Norris’s great disadvantage and more’s the pity. Quite frankly I would rather that the Irish electorate (or at least those in that truncated Free Stater part of it that gets to vote on this) toss old Norris out on his ear because they got to learn that I don’t like him. But, there you go, a fellow can’t have everything his own way. At least not all of the time.

    *All this quite apart from the specifics of the case itself of which we are not informed or indeed of the politcal issues which may have clouded this particular case and legal, political and moral issues surrounding sex acts between consenting post-pubertal young men and men older than them which is a hot potato that yet needs to be addressed not least for the sexual, mental, social and, dare I say it, spiritual welfare of the young men themselves.

  • dodrade

    Whether you like him or not, I hope Norris and his actions are judged by the people at the polls and not thwarted by a political stitch-up to stop him getting on the ballot paper.

  • lamhdearg

    Rory
    By using the headed paper, the gent in Q used his position. i do not know all the contents of said letter, and if i did my view may change, however from what i can read/see Norris has done “enough” (new information not forthcoming) to finish him in the race to become Eire’s prez.
    “as they find themselves up in front of the beak for much more anti-social behaviour than Norris’s friend”. Anti-social, what ever do you mean, his friend was found guilty he had sex with an underage boy. Norris thought he sould not plead guilty, so unless Norris thought the act did not happen, if he is not condoning it, what is it he has done.

  • glenda lough

    All the other candidates are transcendentally dull. People have been known to have slowly asphyxiated themselves during a Higgins speech, just for something to do, for example.

  • Rory Carr

    “All the other candidates are transcendentally dull.”

    So was Clement Atlee, but in 1945 he was manifestly a superior choice as Prime Minister than Winston Churchill who was rarely dull (but often very, very drunk).

    It is Norris’s very lack of ‘dullness’ (if you must) that makes the possibilty of his ever being the incumbent at the Big House something to be concerned about.

    Besides which, unlike say, Pancho Villa or Joseph Stalin, he sports facial hair which just makes him look silly and that alone should disqualify him.

  • lamhdearg

    Facial hair never stopped hitler, the baldy drunk did that.
    having read through the letter (is it complete?) where does the “should not plead guilty” part of the link come from.

  • Brian

    For some reason, if his friend was convicted for statutory rape of a 15 year old girl there wouldn’t be as many people defending him.

    “The charge against his former partner does not reflect upon the Senator (unless unfounded inferences are being drawn in the light of his earlier comments on man/boy sexual liaisons) and indeed any true friend would surely act in a similar way even were the charge to have been murder -a crime I suspect that many find less serious than sexual offences.”

    Using Seanad letterhead (and thus government resources) to lobby for his friend is where he went wrong. His friend’s situation has nothing to do with the business of the state and he shouldn’t be using the Seanad institution (in any way) to lobby for his sex criminal boyfriend.

  • Framer

    The key letters and various other articles are accessible on the Sunday Independent website.

    To mitigate for somebody convicted is not to condone the crime. The purpose of lawyers and on occasion public representatives and/or friends of a criminal is, quite properly, to suggest reasons why the sentence should not be as long it could be.

    The source of the story, according to the Sunday Times, is an enthusiast for Israel, in Dublin, who has done a piece of light digging on Wikipedia.

    The ex-boy friend had been a Palestinian rights activist.

  • lamhdearg

    hmm.

  • lamhdearg

    Framer
    “to mitigate”, ok, but what is it if you sugest the guilty should not plead guilty.

  • pippakin

    Writing the letter on a Seanad letter head was an attempt to use position to influence, that was wrong.

    I did support Mr Norris I thought he was the most lively and interesting candidate. I don’t care about his sexuality but I do care about the sexual grooming of young people and sex tourism. Another aspect is the implied poor judgement. An ambitious politician should know which subjects to support and which to keep away from.

  • wee buns

    Having grumbled about Norris’ modus operands in the past – to clarify, not entirely because he supported Ó Searcaigh but because of the form it took, which was to deem as homophobic those who disagreed with Ó Searcaigh’s actions – an unfair tactic, one which I think alienated him.

    With this latest ‘story’ – comes an impression of Norris’ solidarity with the gay community being again of unbridled importance and it would be interesting to know if he makes such mitigations regularly or on whose behalf.

    Rory not a trace of facetious tone in comparisons made with Wilde? Agree that there are ‘hot potato’ issues which do need to be addressed, but alas not to be in the presidential context.

  • lamhdearg

    Having read the second letter, i am a little in shock, he is not every diplomatic is he, lecturing a Israeli judge on how we do it in ireland.and then “I am a person of some consequence”. Please elect him.

  • I think it would be really sad if this is the end of David Norris’s bid for the presidency down there.

    1. He has not actually done anything wrong as far as I know.

    2. Had the act taken place in a different jurisdiction It might not have even been legally actionable. Many of our European neighbours have ages of consent lower than ours which indicates that our politicians / law makers have decided that we are not as mature as for example the Spanish or German or Swedish people are. And of course on this point it is not that long ago that Senator Norris’s fellow law makers / politicians said he could not have sex at all with the one he loved. And we know that was a serious wrong.

    3. Think what would be in the press today if he had been asked to make a plea for clemency for his former lover and he refused to do so, A no win situation if you ask me.

    If he has not done anything illegal, he should not have to withdraw. He is after all, a fighter.

    I accept the views expressed above, in respect of the man, Sen Norris’s charisma / panache is an ‘acquired’ taste. Like him or loathe him. the Marmite effect. I am not a friend of his but I have met him on 4-5 occasions, and found him to be a passionate debater and intellectual.

    I hope he stays in the race,

  • Taoiseach

    Simple thought experiment – change the Israeli paedophile plumber to “Fr Brendan Smyth”. Change the Senator to the Papal Nuncio. Step back and listen to the outrage.

    I listened to someone on the radio today who said this was different because all the clerical cases were “real rape” and this “young man” consented. Consent in these cases is what is called “grooming” when it’s a priest.

    So the question for the Senator now – given that this convict child rapist stayed with him in Dublin on many occasions, did the Senator report him to the Gardai and/or the HSE? Has there been any investigation as to whether he abused any children when in Ireland?

  • lamhdearg

    the age of consent in the vatican city is 12, in some places its 9 (yemen and some african). looking at it that way Mr Norris’s lover was moderate.

  • Harry Flashman

    @Alias

    “I guess Harry Flashman has earned an “I told you so” moment…”

    In fairness Alias I’m not sure I did tell anyone anything specific about Norris and his candidature, I merely commented generally in a previous thread.

    However at risk of coming across as a complete contrarian I happen to agree with Rory.

    I don’t like Norris, he’s a phoney, he’s the typical sort of phoney thrown up by the Dublin 4 set and beloved of the Irish media. Beyond his enjoyably humourous lecturing technique on Joyce (which I enjoyed as a Trinity undergraduate) there isn’t much to the man. He’s a caricature, if he had lived in Oxford or Camridge instead of the overgrown village of Dublin no one would have ever heard of him.

    As I did say in a previous thread about Enda Kenny’s speech, Irish public opinion is remarkably sheeplike. One minute they’re all fawning over you next moment, in a flash, they’ve simultaneously turned against you. I’ve seen it all before, Enniskillen, Birmingham Six, the Catholic Church, Charles Hauhey, the list of endless hysterical twists and turns in received Irish wisdom is remarkable both for its ability to change direction in an instant and the volume of fake outrage and moralising on the phone in shows.

    Norris has done nothing wrong, an old and beloved friend (a man I wouldn’t cross the road to meet incidentally but my personal opinion is worthless) was in desperate difficulties. Difficulties for which he had no one to blame other than himself, but that is often the way when one finds oneself in trouble and in need of friends. Norris could have kept an eye on his political career or he could have stood by his old friend. Norris did the right thing, he helped a friend. He should not be condemned for it.

    For all the shrieking pharisees and whited sepulchres calling for his head I can only say I hope you never find yourself in the need of a friend’s help.

  • Alias

    No problem, Harry. I don’t agree that he did nothing wrong, however. I’ll quote from his letter to the Court:

    “I would like to stress that should the court find it possible to show mercy to Mr. Yizhak I am more than happy to act as a personal guarantor for his continued good behaviour and to guarantee absolutely that there will be no reoffence.”

    I wonder how Mr Norris planned to make good his guarantee to the Court that his lover would no longer sexually abuse boys if shown leniency? Did he plan to phone the Bishop of Cloyne and book a place for him on one of the Vatican’s treatment programs to cure peadophile priests? Given that Mr. Norris and Mr. Yizhak lived in different countries, presumably he planned to get him a resident’s visa for Ireland and lock him in a basement in North Great George’s Street. He asked the Court to release a sex offender on the basis of an entirely bogus guarantee that he would not reoffend, and that he would not do so because Mr. Norris’s good standing (read the ltter for how he hypes up his own importance in Irish public life).

    Given that Mr. Norris has publically supported the practice of pederasty, and has made regular visits to a pederast in Isreal, it would be a foolhardly public that would elect this individual and then feign surprise if Mr. Norris is more directly connected with the practice at a later date and duly bring similar disgace on the office of President.

  • Harry Flashman

    Like I say Alias I don’t care much for Norris and part of me gets a little schadenfreude from seeing his smug bumptiousness and false bonhomie get their comeuppance. He is not the hail fellow well met he likes to portray himself as, he’s a vain attention seeker and isn’t slow to get the vicious dig in against his opponents when he sees the chance.

    His letter of reference is nothing more than politicians and clergy get asked for all the time from troubled constituents or associates, be they wife beaters, drunk drivers or habitual crooks. I am sure Norris and his colleagues have written countless numbers of them.

    In this case it was somewhat more than that in that the person seeking assistance was someone very dear to him. Norris could have acted as an astute politician on the make and decided to throw his old lover under the bus but he didn’t. In a politically unwise but very human way he risked great personal loss and helped out his friend in time of deep trouble.

    I don’t like Norris as I have already said but I actually respect him a little bit more because of what he did. God forbid I should ever find myself in serious trouble with the law and if I do I am sure it will be of my own making but I hope there are people among whom I now count as friends who are willing to sacrifice so much to help me as a sinner in my time of need.

  • wee buns

    Having now read the offending letter/ impassioned appeal – this stood out:

    ‘Fourthly, I travelled to Israel specifically for the hearing of the last case in May of this year and was present in court when the case was heard and the judgment read. I therefore personally witnessed some troubling anomalies in the majority verdict, such as the constant insistence by the presiding judge that there was absolutely no difference between this case and a similar case involving heterosexual relations. This is certainly factually incorrect. I would be more than happy to give the court the benefit my expert knowledge on this and other matters if it were found possible for me to give evidence in the matter.’

    From ignorance on my part I ask what is this ‘factually incorrect difference’ between homosexual and heterosexual involment in a similar case? This ‘difference’ was also referred to by O Searcaigh when explaining his pederasty activity in Tibet, but I really don’t understand what the difference means. Anyone know?

    Also from today’s Independent:

    ‘It was during this trial that news first reached the public about Nawi’s 1997 conviction for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy. He had begun a sexual relationship with the teenager in 1992 and, when the boy’s parents learned of it, they contacted the authorities.’

    I know of a similar case here, where a man was solicited heavily via the net by a 15yr old guy, which led to their meeting and some form of sexual relationship, which the young guy’s parents discovered, and subsequently it was they who pressed charges. The man who is in his fifties is serving time in jail. Apparently he is a very nice & good chap, but he always had a penchant for a younger guy and basically his appetite got the better of his good sense. He should have said ‘no’.

  • Alias

    Loyalty to a friend is commendable, but that shouldn’t be confused with the less commendable act of trying to child sex offender off the hook.

    There is also a big difference between giving a character reference to a court and and giving a guarantee.

  • Alias

    “From ignorance on my part I ask what is this ‘factually incorrect difference’ between homosexual and heterosexual involment in a similar case?”

    Wee Buns, that had me thinking too when I read it and the only thing I could think of was the obvious same sex difference. Who knows how these pederasts rationalise their abnornality.

    Norris seemed to think that an Israeli court should be an Irish court, and then started lecturing the court about why its law as odd because it wasn’t in accordance with irish law. As someone has already pointed out, that’s not the best way to make a favourable impression on the court.

  • Brian

    Anyone who has a close relative who is 15 years old knows they are hardly more than children. Any adult who has sexual relations with them is most likely taking advantage of them. This is why there are laws against it.

  • andnowwhat

    I’d seriously advise people to check put politics’ie’s latest thread on this matter.

    Quite an interesting source for the story it would seem and hints that it relates to Mr Norris’ attitude to Isreal

  • wee buns

    andnowwhat
    ‘I’d seriously advise people to check put politics’ie’s latest thread on this matter.’
    I had a stab but life is too short to plough through 2770 comments in search of something relevant to the story source over yonder.

    Alias
    ‘..the only thing I could think of was the obvious same sex difference’.
    This is the point that I imagine I am missing. Male and female sexuality differs in some obvious respects. But straight male and gay male sexuality at 15yrs old differs presumably only in it’s preference? How else could it differ? Equality is being sought in terms of gay rights, and indeed that’s what the judge in this case was insisting upon, then surely to assert otherwise is anti equality? Flummoxed.

  • Alias

    I can help you with the first paragragh. There are two conspiracy theories doing the rounds (presumably put out there by Norris supporters) that seek to shift the focus from Norris’ defence of a child sex offender to the motives of those who brought his defence of said child sex offender to the publics’ attention. The first one appeals to rabid anti-Israeli sentiment prevalent in Ireland by insisting that ‘It was the Jooos what done it’ and the other conspiracy theory is that it was his rival’s camp for the liberal/left vote in the forthcoming presidential election ‘what done it’.

    I still can’t help you with the second paragragh.

  • pippakin

    As a senior politician and one with ambition Mr Norris should have known better than to ally himself with such a case however great his friendship with the accused. The assumption that he knows better than others the problems and confusion of some fifteen year olds, of either sex, is patronising nonsense. One of the reasons the law is there is because most adults fully understand and want to protect those who are in a very real way still children.

  • I think Pippakin gets to the heart of it.
    There are just some crimes……which are so “anti social”…that no politician can be seen to write a letter of mitigation.
    In some ways David Norris is a man from another era.
    With Edwardian values as well as clothes.
    I never much cared for him one way or another……too much self regard. but frankly Ive now come to the conclusion that I dont like him very much at all. (not that it should bother him).

    But if theres to be a Press Conference, I hope the Media are thorough.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    There is a piquant irony in the fact that Norris’s campaign has run aground because his staff have jumped ship. They didn’t wait for the damning headlines, the pious editorials, angry calls to Joe Duffy and so on.

    In his hour of need, his friends have deserted him, because of a ‘scandal’ caused by Norris’s refusal to abandon a friend in need.

    I don’t like Norris and I’m glad he won’t be President: glad for the country and glad for the gay people of Ireland to be spared such a cartoonish figure; but I agree with Rory and Harry, that he has been undone by an act of courage and loyalty, and while Pippakin is correct in observing its political folly, well, that’s the thing: integrity is very bloody costly.

    Far too costly for most of Norris’s staff, clearly. Rarely has the metaphor of rats deserting a sinking ship been so literal.

  • wee buns

    According to Poitics.ie Norris is to resign and make a speech at 3pm. A few comments from that forum which sum up and answer my query:

    ‘’He said it was a lesser crime because they were gay, it is clear from his interviews he sees a time and a place for pederasty.’’

    Both O Searcaigh & Norris hold the above view but without having explained why. Perhaps the answer is as simple as:

    ‘’Norris has already claimed he would have liked to have been “mentored” by an older man when he was young in his HLB interview, so I assume he may have actually believed the 15 year old was a willing participant.’’

    And a heartfelt comment from poster (FFKev) who obviously holds Norris in high regard:

    ‘’That he has hidden this information (and apparently not just from the electorate but from his own campaign team too) is bad enough but his failing to come out and deal with them directly and frankly immediately indicates to me not only a lack of judgment but also a lack of respect for the people of Ireland.

    But most succinctly, on Norris’ attitude:

    “If you don’t agree with me then you don’t understand”. That attitude is wrong.’’

  • wee buns

    Or maybe not stepped aside quite yet, nor has Thomas Pringle etc
    With the aforementioned anomalies featured at the close of this article.
    http://www.herald.ie/news/norris-can-he-go-on-2836593.html

  • Alias

    “In his hour of need, his friends have deserted him, because of a ‘scandal’ caused by Norris’s refusal to abandon a friend in need.”

    Would you then praise Rosemary West for her loyalty to her husband? If your friend murdered his wife, would you stand by your friend or report his crime to the police?

    That is to conflate two issues: loyalty to a friend and trying to sex a child sex offender off the hook. The first is commendable but the second is reprehensible.

    Also, pederasts do not have an age limit. They will have a sexual relationship with a five year old boy and beleive that the only thing wrong about it is society’s attitude to it. That is the ilk that you are supporting.

    Now, while I don’t make a habit of quoting missives from my inbox, this one from the Israeli embassy in Dublin should clear up the one conspiracy theory:

    “Re: Allegations made regarding publication of letter by Senator David Norris

    The Embassy of Israel wishes to state that allegations made in the media by some Irish public figures that the Embassy was involved in the publication of a letter written by Senator David Norris to a court in Israel have absolutely no foundation. No such letter was or is in the possession of the Embassy; as in Ireland, the judicial system in democratic Israel is entirely separate from the Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Successive ambassadors of Israel have enjoyed a friendly, if combative and mutually critical, relationship with Senator David Norris over many years. There is much admiration in Israel for Senator Norris’ work in Ireland in the cause of human rights and in particular for his endeavours for reform of the laws relating to homosexuality.

    The Embassy further wishes to state that Israel does not intervene in the democratic political contests of other states on behalf of, or against, particular candidates. It wishes all candidates in the Irish Presidential election equally well and looks forward to a mutually friendly relationship with whomever the Irish people choose as their next President.”

  • pippakin

    Experimenting with sexual relationships at fifteen is normal between like ages and that applies to either sex with either sex. Its learning.

    The difference that Mr Norris really doesn’t seem to understand is that when a fifty something is involved with a fifteen year old that’s not experimenting and learning, that’s teaching or as its known today: grooming.

    If Mr Norris doesn’t understand that then he is and always has been in the wrong job.

    I have no problem at all with his sexuality that is between him and his partner and I would ignore rumour and gossip but this isn’t either of those and I’m not surprised his team have left him. I would be surprised if they had stayed.

  • Rory Carr

    “…pederasts do not have an age limit” says Alias, but clearly not from deep experience since clearly that statement is nonsense.

    A pederast by definition would be most unlikely to seek sexual congress with a 35 year-old one might imagine.

    Or did you mean to confine it to an upper age limit?

    If that is the case then you are again incorrect as, by definition, pederasts are those who would seek to engage in sexual relations with adolescent boys.

    Those who would seek to have sexual relations with children who have not yet achieved puberty are described as paedophiles.

    A pederast is not a paedophile any more than a turkey is peacock though they both be fowl.

    But, please, it would be best, if we are to discuss these matters, that we at least take the trouble to get our terms correct. It would be most unfortunate if the Slugger site gained for itself a reputation for flinging around the scare-word, paedophile at every turn by the merchants of shock, the lascivious and the pre-Freudian neanderthals.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alias

    ‘Would you then praise Rosemary West for her loyalty to her husband?’

    I would not. Why would any sane person think that a reasonable extrapolation?

    Poor example, by the way. Rosemary West is a serial killer. She was an willing and active participant in ten murders. Your comparison is ludicrous.

    ‘If your friend murdered his wife, would you stand by your friend or report his crime to the police?’

    I would report the crime to the police. And, say he was convicted of murder: if, during the deliberations regarding sentencing, I was asked, to provide detail for the court on my friend’s character (no reason I would be, but regardless), then I can think of plenty of possible circumstances under which I would be willing to do so. And I can think of plenty of possible circumstances under which I would take a different view. It really would depend on the details of the case.

    ‘That is to conflate two issues: loyalty to a friend and trying to sex a child sex offender off the hook. The first is commendable but the second is reprehensible.’

    In what way was Norris ‘trying to get (his friend) off the hook’? As I understand it, the case had already been heard, and only sentencing was left to be discussed. At most, Norris was hoping for a slightly smaller hook.

    ‘Also, pederasts do not have an age limit.’

    All right, now you have departed from even a pretense of fact-based argument.

    ‘They will have a sexual relationship with a five year old boy and beleive that the only thing wrong about it is society’s attitude to it.’

    That is true of some, undoubtedly. But that is not what Norris’s friend was convicted of. He was convicted of having sex, consensually, with a post-pubescent male who had not reached the age of consent.

    This is to be condemned. Adults should not have sex with adolescents, and should be punished for doing so. But sex with an adolescent is not equivalent to sex with a child.

    I think most people recognise the distinction between pre- and post-pubescence.

    ‘That is the ilk that you are supporting.’

    You, sir, need to get out more.

  • wee buns

    Rory
    What I don’t understand is why pederasty is so widespread in the Arab/Islamic lands, where granted the concept of age of consent does not exist, but it’s clearly not simply a question of age. Does female non availability come into it? Or for that matter, why is the practice of middle aged women ‘getting with’ 15yr old boys not more common?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    If I could rephrase, I should have said:

    ‘sex with an adolescent is not equivalent to the rape of a child.’

    Consensual sex with an adolescent, though morally reprehensible, is possible. Consensual sex with a child is inherently impossible; therefore all such intercourse is rape.

    Norris’s friend was a damned fool, who could have no complaint if the 15-year-old’s father arrived at his door with a loaded shotgun. But he was not, as I understand it, a rapist.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Wee Buns

    ‘What I don’t understand is why pederasty is so widespread in the Arab/Islamic lands…’

    Is it? Have you any evidence to back this up?

  • wee buns

    BP
    I’m going on reports of people who know these lands, have traveled there extensively and say it’s common practice.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Wee Buns

    So, no actual evidence then?

    The rest of your post therefore can, and should, be dismissed as mere Muslim-baiting.

    As I say to all Islamophobes: if this were the 1930s, you’d be bashing the Jews.

  • pippakin

    Some of my friends, one in particular, used to go to Egypt and other Arab countries every year. It was certainly talked about as though such relationships were more acceptable there.

    Anyone who goes to an Arab country will remark on the absence of women in public, they simply are not seen. If there is a connection between the absence of one then in some ways it seems logical. Also if most men/adolescents only see female family members then the likelihood of a Mrs Robinson situation becomes very unlikely.

  • wee buns

    BP
    ”The rest of your post therefore can, and should, be dismissed as mere Muslim-baiting.’

    If you dispute that pederasty is common place in other parts of the world (including the Arab) then why not say so, instead of branding my comment as Islamophobe, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Rory Carr

    Wee Buns is correct insofar as anecdotal evidence of the proliferation of pederasty in Mediterranean and North African regions goes and especially among those areas with a large Muslim population, which is why so many quite famous authors set up home in Morocco. (I can’t help but recall my favourite all-time opening line from any novel, Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers – although the story is set in Malta:

    “It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite* when Ali announced that the Archbishop had come to see me.”)

    I have earlier recounted how a young Turkish-Cypriot student, with whom I shared a house many years ago, told me of the common practice in his society whereby, shortly after puberty, he was taken in hand by an ‘uncle’ who inducted him in sexual practice and healthcare including hygiene and, at a later stage, brought him to a brothel where he had sexual intercourse with a woman, something that was otherwise proscribed until marriage (much like it was in my day in Ireland).

    The trouble is that statistics are difficult to come by and, because of the religious and social stigma on homosexual activity, denial is the order of the day but, as far as I know, Morocco is still a hotspot for ‘mature’ gay Westerners to visit in confident expectation of sexual encounters with young men.

    *catamite – If you don’t know, look it up for yourself.

  • wee buns

    This was mentioned before by me: O’ Searcaigh’s explanation for young Tibetan males involving themselves in pederasty included their not being able to relate to females. I wouldn’t expect it to be well documented area, that one could easily find ‘proof’ of.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Wee Buns

    ‘If you dispute that pederasty is common place in other parts of the world (including the Arab) then why not say so…’

    I neither dispute nor affirm it. I simply ask for evidence. In the absence of evidence, it looks suspiciously like dog-whistling.

    Rory, typically, has made a much better job of supporting your post than you did yourself – though even there, Rory’s examples of Malta, Cyprus, and relatively privileged westerners enjoying their power over poorer peoples of the world – none of which can be said to be categorically ‘other’, or necessarily tells us anything about ‘pederasty’ being ‘widespread in the Arab/Islamic lands’. (your phrase.)

  • Rory Carr

    I had missed Billy Pilgrim’s (uncharacteristic ) attack on Wee Buns’ earlier post. I am quite sure that there was no anti-Muslim intent on his part (or on Pippakin’s) as he (and she) were merely conveying information that is quite universally widespread.

    In any case I cannot see how such information is harmful to Muslims except perhaps in the sense that social constraints demanded by the religion creates hypocrisy within the society where it thrives much as it does in Christian societies where we often find, much to our surprise, fornicators, adulterers, and even, would you believe it, not very nice neighbours.

    I also happen to know quite a number of Muslims who smoke, drink alcohol, commit adultery, consort with prostitutes, even indulge in usury. It may make them not very good Muslims but their actions do not condemn the whole of Islam. Nor does my mention of their errant ways make me Islamophobic.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Wee Buns

    ‘I wouldn’t expect it to be well documented area, that one could easily find ‘proof’ of.’

    I am not asking for ‘proof.’ I ask only for evidence.

    Islamic literature, and particularly Arab literature, is of incomparable richness. Can you suggest, for example, literary evidence for the widespread social phenomenon you describe?

  • wee buns

    BP
    Leave it with me.
    Really I’m interested in separating out the strands of the argument about what pederasty is, where it happens and why, and what relationship it bears if any to the male homosexual community in these parts. I’m not interested in getting embroiled in defending my comments against prejudice not intended.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Wee Buns

    Fair enough. Sorry if I wrongly interpreted more malign intentions, which I did.

  • Alias

    “All right, now you have departed from even a pretense of fact-based argument.”

    Well then, why don’t you present the facts? It should be easy enough to show that the sexual abuse of boys by men is confined to boys of the age range that pederasts claim they confine it to. In fact, boys as young as 2 have had sexual ‘relationships’ with these pederasts so the statement is fact-based. That is why their leading activist group, NAMBLA, wants to abolish the age of consent and not reduce it.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Alias

    ‘Well then, why don’t you present the facts? It should be easy enough to show that the sexual abuse of boys by men is confined to boys of the age range that pederasts claim they confine it to.’

    Please provide evidence of what ‘pederasts claim’. I didn’t realise they were so organised, that one can refer to the pederasts of the world as a corporate entity. Is there a press statement you can link to, or anything like that?

    ‘In fact, boys as young as 2 have had sexual ‘relationships’ with these pederasts so the statement is fact-based.’

    Boys as young as 2 cannot have sexual ‘relationships’ with anyone. Babies, some even younger than 2, have been raped. (It turns my stomach to type such a sentence.) This is not any sane person’s definition of a sexual ‘relationship.’

    The noun used to describe these rapists is not ‘pederast,’ it is ‘paedophile.’

    The word ‘pederast’ specifically refers to an adult who is involved – and not necessarily even sexually, though this is usually the case – with a post-pubescent adolescent.

    It is categorically wrong to describe as a ‘pederast’ a person who rapes a pre-pubescent child. The word for those people is ‘paedophile.’ A paedophile, unlike a pederast, is by definition a rapist.

    ‘…so the statement is fact-based.’

    No it isn’t. It’s based on an ignorance of the difference between pederasty and paedophilia – both of which are morally reprehensible, in my opinion, but which are of different orders of reprehensibility.

  • Mark

    Pippakin ,

    Experimenting with sexual relationships at fifteen is normal between like ages and that applies to either sex with either sex. Its learning …

    You’re right Pippakin , it is happening but it shouldn’t be learning . Fifteen is too young to handle a sexual relationship and all it’s emotional pitfalls . Young couples of fifteen can’t handle the enevitable breakup . These kids turn to drink and drugs etc . Then there is all the teenage pregnency and it just goes on and on . Yesterday in South Wales a 29 yr old man became the youngest ever Grandparent . He had his kid at 15 and now with the apple not falling far etc …. his son now has a kid of 14 .

    I know I’m being niave but it should be drilled into 13//14/15 yr olds that sex at that age brings nothing but trouble .

    But what chance do they have . Some one else posted a couple off days ago about the ads on the tv before the watershed hour were one scene away from being a soft porn film .

  • pippakin

    Mark

    I completely agree! Now if only the average fifteen year olds agreed with us… I think its virtually impossible to prevent some experimentation.

    Its fortunate that the days of back street abortions and shame are gone but arguably the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Sex education is now in every school and yet these cases continue to happen and may be rising.

  • Mark

    I shudder to think what lies ahead for my kid Pip….Obviously as you know girls at that age are at least 2/3 yeads ahead in terms of sexual maturity . The boys don’t stand a chance . I know a young lad , had a great future / job etc , loved the girlfrind and then one day the Dear John letter arrived and the guy tried to kill himself on more than one occasion . Only just getting over it know 5/6 yrs on .

  • pippakin

    Mark

    The vast majority of young people, like your daughter, come from loving families and are well grounded and protected. Indeed its the revulsion of those families that has been the undoing of David Norris.

  • Mark

    Good point ……….. and I see you’re busy on your blog .

  • Mark

    Pippakin ,

    ps – thanks for that lovely comment ………………………

  • Harry Flashman

    My mother in law got married at fourteen, her husband was the village schoolmaster and the family was delighted she made such a good match. She went on to have six kids with him before he passed away.

    The old dear has nothing but good words to say about her dearest beloved, she seems like a terribly sensible woman and doesn’t seem to have been remotely traumatised by her experiences.

    I just throw that into the pot to stir things up a bit.

  • wee buns

    BP & others

    Last night I was but vaguely aware of the sensitivity around the issue of the source of the letter etc.

    However I didn’t need to hunt far (wikipedia) to be furnished with facts on pederasty, historicaly practiced in most places; Asia, Japan, Europe, the Americas, England…

    A matter of recent record:

    ”In Afghanistan in 2009, the British Army commissioned a report into the sexuality of the local men after British soldiers reported the discomfort at witnessing adult males involved in sexual relations with boys. The report stated that though illegal, there was a tradition of such relationships in the country, known as “bache bazi” or boy play, and that it was especially strong around Kandahar.”

    On historic Europe, (and apparantly Plato did not approve):
    ”Pederastic eros in the West, while remaining mostly hidden, has nevertheless revealed itself in a variety of settings. Legal records are one of the more important windows into this secret world, since for much of the time pederastic relations, like other forms of homosexual relations, were illegal.”

    On England (note reason given for decline);
    ”Until the 1970s, English public schools were boarding schools whose male teachers educated young and adolescent boys only. They emphasized study of Greek and Latin classics. The all-male environment encouraged “hotbeds of pederasty” into the twentieth century. Eventually, pederasty was decreased in British public schools, due to the introduction of female teachers and co-education, which gave boys a heterosexual output.”

    Also states:
    ”Feminist and postmodern theories describe such relations as an abuse of power when the older partner is in a position of educational, religious, economic or form of institutional authority over the younger partner.”

    And of current topical relevence?
    ”Pederasty is widely censured, whether legally or illegally expressed. Instances of it, or of homosexual behavior among public men, have had severe political repercussions. (For example, the Mark Foley or “Pagegate” in which apparent abuse of pages in the U.S. in 2006 may have contributed to the Democratic capture of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in the following fall elections.)”

  • Alias

    Billy, are you just making that stuff up as you go along?

    Take this example:

    “The word ‘pederast’ specifically refers to an adult who is involved – and not necessarily even sexually, though this is usually the case – with a post-pubescent adolescent.”

    As I said, and as you wrongly contradicted, there is no lower age limit. The actual definition is “A man who has sexual relations, especially anal intercourse, with a boy.”

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pederast

    Now another example:

    “It’s based on an ignorance of the difference between pederasty and paedophilia – both of which are morally reprehensible, in my opinion, but which are of different orders of reprehensibility.”

    It is you who is ignorant of the difference between pederasty and paedophilia. A peadophile is not homosexual, whereas a pederast is. True, peadophiles can be bisexual as well as hetrosexual but they are not homosexual. Since the topic is sex between boys and men, the correct term is pederasty and not paedophilia.

    One last example: “I didn’t realise they were so organised, that one can refer to the pederasts of the world as a corporate entity.”

    If you have never heard of NAMBLA, then you confirm that you don’t know what you are talking about. Would it have been too much effort to have googled it?

    As I said, and as you again wrongly contradicted, “That is why their leading activist group, NAMBLA, wants to abolish the age of consent and not reduce it.”

    If pederasts did have a lower age limit, which they do not, then why is their leading activist group seeking to abolish the age of consent rather than have it reduced to what you imagine is their lower age limit?

  • Mark

    Harry ,

    ” My mother in law got married at fourteen ” ………

    I was talking primarily about teenagers in the West esp Ireland , England etc . If your posts are anything to go by Harry , then your mother in law obviously passed on her good taste in men to her daughter .

    Over here teenage marriages normally don’t stand a chance because of inexperience , immaturity , infidelity etc . In the Far East young girls are wise beyond their years for a whole host of reasons that include having to become the bread winner at an early age , the lack of a male influence , running a household . If there is a teenage pregnancy in the family , everybody helps out including the neighbours , the Village and so on . If the father happens to be a foreigner ….. BINGO !!!!!!!

    My mother in law does nothing but eat and play cards . In fact I’ve seen her eat the cards when the food has run out . She only married my father in law because he was from Laos and was due to inherit some land and had a few quid . Within three months of marriage , he’d gambled and drank the whole lot . She was sick – it was probably that jack of clubs ..