The Irish Presidential Race - David Norris won't leave the stage as Martin McGuinness brings drama
Posted on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM
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Norris' presidential campaign may have been 're-ignited' against all the odds, but it's been met with almost total disinterest on the part of the media -- and the public.
Today's news in the Sunday papers centers around Martin McGuinness' decision to throw his name into the hat.
Ever a controversial figure, the former street fighter / paramilitary leader has polarized opinion at an early stage as to whether he should become the next president.
His dovish statement that should he be elected he would welcome the Queen to Ireland was a definite step in the right direction, and a number of highly favourable articles in the national and international press have played up the more conciliatory elements of his role in the Northern Irish peace process.
McGuinness happily enters the stage as that interesting, and historical, personality, that's been missing from the drama so far.
David Norris to approach Fianna Fail for Presidential election support
Martin McGuinness forced to condemn IRA men who killed police officer Gerry McCabe
David Norris confirms he is back in the race to become President of Ireland
De Valera grandson threatens to form breakaway party from Fianna Fail
Latest opinion polls put Labour's Michael D Higgins on top, but both he and Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell have evoked a lack of enthusiasm from the Irish public that would make whatever lead they currently enjoy over other candidates extremely shaky.
McGuinness is anything but dull, and although his name inevitably draws with it a debate about the entire peace process, his candidature could likely prove exciting enough to topple whatever margin Michael D currently commands.
Where poor David Norris is left in all this is really anybody's guess, but perhaps nowhere is the best answer.
Norris' bid to re-start his presidential campaign was itself the stuff of logistical mayhem.
Two successive appearances on Ireland's ever popular The Late Late Show left Norris looking woefully desperate, and despite his indefatigable appetite for publicity, at this stage people have heard enough about David Norris and his scandals to be happy to move on.
The 'ham actor' plaints seems to enjoy greater currency than the sex abuse scandal (memories do indeed move on quickly), but whatever it is about David Norris, few people at this stage seem to care enough to be willing to afford him the endorsement necessary for him to make it onto the ballot paper.
Headlines about David Norris have remained stalled on 'Norris plans his comeback' / 'Norris canvasses for support' for over two weeks' now, and there seems to be little signs of progress.
Norris may well find himself faced with the additional embarrassment of not only having launched two failed bids for office, but also having failed to make it onto the ballot sheet on the second try.
With Norris floundering to convince his old Fianna Fail backers to show him some support, it seems very iffy whether he can reach the 20 Oireachtas nominations needed to make it onto the all important ballot sheet.
And one thing's for certain: if this try fails, there'll be no third time lucky.