The Irish presidential campaign of Senator David Norris lurched into major trouble again yesterday with the resignations of two key staff members.

Norris, who is leading in the polls and would be the first ever openly gay elected president, was previously in trouble over a magazine interview and his views on young men and sex in ancient Greece.

This new controversy involved his former partner Ezra Yizhak Nawi, an Israeli who was convicted of underage sex with a Palestinian  in 1992.  Critics say Norris’s relationship with Nawi took place in the full knowledge of that conviction.

Director of Communications Jane Cregan and Director of Elections Derek Murphy both made public that they had resigned from the Norris’s campaign team yesterday.

Cregan left a voice message on her phone saying: “I no longer work for the David Norris for President campaign.”  Murphy confirmed to The Irish Times that he had resigned but declined to say why.

The Israeli court case against his former partner came to light in full over the past few days.

According to the Irish Times, the two men have remained close and are in frequent contact. Norris has stated about his ex-partner that "I am very proud that my former partner and close friend Ezra Yizhak Nawi places his life in jeopardy on a routine basis to help those he considers his neighbours in Israel/Palestine.

“Ezra is an Israeli-born Jew of Middle Eastern origin and as a ‘Good Samaritan’ his neighbours in this case are the downtrodden Palestinian subsistence farmers in the villages around south Hebron.”

Whether there is more to come out about their relationship in recent times remains to be seen. Speculation that top staffers have further reasons for resigning is rampant.

Norris was leading the field in the two latest polls but his campaign has lurched from one crisis to another in recent months.