Senator David Norris has rejected claims that he is the victim of a campaign to sabotage his bid to become the next President of Ireland.

Norris has admitted however that he is in the middle of a ‘dirty fight’ to follow Mary McAleese as Irish president but is adamant he will contest the autumn election.

The Norris camp have been rocked by a series of recent articles outlining previous remarks made in newspaper interviews regarding paedophilia and the age of consent.

The Senate leader has to win support from 20 members of the Irish Parliament or four County Councils to go forward for election.

“I think I’m going to be President. In fact, I bloody well know I am. My best revenge is winning the Presidency,” declared Norris.

“I’ve been in politics a long time and I know what the fight is like. This fight is particularly dirty and I wasn’t expecting it but I don’t care if there is a conspiracy, I don’t care who is doing all this to me - ultimately it is the Irish people to whom I must answer.

“People forget there were serious questions raised about Mary Robinson’s suitability for the Presidency, but she ruthlessly put it all to one side.

“She was called a tribal time bomb but she didn’t spend time, saying she wasn’t. That’s how she got through it and that’s what I am going to do. As I said earlier, I will not be diverted from my path.

“And I do believe my name will be on the ballot. I have four months to prove myself and I shall.”

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, Senator Norris also vowed to stop responding to questions related to old interviews.

He said: “I have to make a value judgement on this and I know it will do me far more harm than good if I just keep on denying, denying, denying.

“Helen Lucy Burke said on the radio that she wanted to stop my candidacy and there is this website that was set up supposedly in my name and is out to undo me.

“But I don’t know for sure that there is, as some say, a concerted campaign. If there is, who are the people behind it?

“But I do believe there are certain forces in this country that realise somebody who is on the margins, somebody who is Independent and was never part of any political party, could actually become President and that has them concerned.

“Whether they are a lot of individuals, or one individual, the intention is to divert me from my path, but I shall not be diverted. I also believe that people who have extreme religious views have been upset by me.”