Senator David Norris is now looking like the most likely candidate to take over from Mary McAleese as the president of Ireland. He has also admitted that the reason he decided to run for candidacy was the massive Facebook campaign which was started by fans.
Two recent opinion polls have shown that David Norris is the forerunner and could quite possibly be elected next autumn as the first gay president of Ireland. This would be quite a turn up for the books in a country once considered a conservative Catholic nation.
Norris said “I've started very early in response to the Facebook campaign.
"One of the Irish Sunday newspapers rang me up and said, 'Do you know that nearly 1,000 people have signed on Facebook calling for you to stand for the presidency?' It was Facebook which started all this, absolutely.
"I think it is very important to use modern technology. It helped get President Obama to win the election,” Norris said while speaking to the Guardian newspapers. His Facebook page, “Senator David Norris for President”, now has 16,000 members.
Norris insists that his sexuality will be a non-issue when it comes to his campaign. “It's a non-issue...It's a non-issue with the people of Ireland. Some may have some concerns, and I hope I am able to address them. I have just had a major radio interview in Dublin and the interviewer asked me about it, and people came on the programme to say 'Will you get out of that? What does it matter! We want someone with vision ... someone who is independent.'
"The only person who said they would not vote [for] me live on air was a gay man. He rang in to say it was great that a gay man was standing for the presidency but that I was far too leftwing for him. I respect that man because he has parked what he sees as an irrelevant issue and instead goes on to analyse what I stand for."
The James Joyce expert does however realize that if he were elected it would be international news that he could use to “sell Ireland” especially to the United States”.
"Anybody else elected as president of Ireland I don't think is going to get the same kind of sensational news coverage. And I think that's splendid, because if I went to Washington as president every single news channel will be there hungry for a story. I have been around long enough to deal with that story with dignity and then move on to talk about Ireland, to sell our country."
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore