Fianna Fail councillor Michael Crowe is opposed to Sen David Norris addressing the Galway City Council meeting in order to secure its backing for the presidency. He made this clear on Monday It is not the first time that Cllr Crowe has had allegations made against him — during his mayorship over the past twelve months, he was accused of snubbing the Bród gay and lesbian parade in the city, and it was alleged this week that he did not reply to a letter from David Norris to address the city council. However, he insists that he does not have any problem with Senator Norris’s sexuality, just his opinions. Here he outlines his reasons:
Public life is difficult. It has challenges on many fronts on an almost daily basis. Those challenges vary and have certainly got greater over the past five years. The masses are angry. Politicians stock is at an all-time low. The mainstream parties are all the one, same story, different colours. These seem to be the general beliefs among the public at the moment and probably will be for some time.
And just in case I didn’t have enough challenges, weighing in on the wrong side of popular public opinion against a possible presidential candidate is another battle and my statement at Monday night’s council meeting seems to have the heads shaking of those very same masses.
“I don’t believe Senator David Norris is fit to be President of Ireland and therefore I or my party colleagues on this council will not be supporting him.”
I spoke first at our council meeting on Monday night and those were the exact words stated by me. In the last few days I have taken a lot of flak for not supporting Senator Norris’s “democratic right” to come before Galway City Council and state his case for the presidency.
Firstly, it is within the right of the councillors to agree or not to hear any candidate who is seeking their support. It is the councillors right. Each councillor makes up their own mind and the majority decide. That is the way the process works.
Senator Norris’s past comments and stated views on a number of subjects including the subject of paedophilia disturb me. It is of deep concern to me. His stated opinion and view that there was “something to be said” for the approach in which a young man was introduced to sexual behaviour by an older man, his stance on the age of consent and that drugs and prostitution should be legalised also concern me. I have hopes and wishes for the people of Galway and Ireland in to the future and these are not included in them. It is not what I want from our next president.
When a potential presidential candidate approaches and asks me to consider supporting him/her in their bid to reach the highest office in the land, to represent our country at home and abroad, to lead our country, I take that responsibility very seriously. I do not make that decision on a whim. I would expect the people of Galway would want me to take it seriously.
This is about the office of the President of Ireland. It is about the whole of the character of the individual seeking support. It is a question of fitness for the office. I have outlined some of my concerns and that is why I could not and would not support Senator David Norris for president.
For this I have received many emails containing name calling including being homophobic, insulting me, bordering on abusive and threatening me that it will be remembered at election time. These have no place in any democratic process. I have outlined above my reasons for reaching my decision and I hope it is clear. I stand by that decision and will not be doing a U-turn like other representatives. A public representative has to have a belief in his/her own views and a faith in that belief. After all, the public elect us because they have a faith in and a belief in us in the first place and expect us to represent them and carry out our work using these very human instincts. These, along with been forthright and honest in our views are what I believe are the basic necessary requirements in public life.
At the end of the day, what needs to be understood that from my point of view, it is not the fact that Senator Norris is an openly gay man that is causing the difficulty, it is his previous opinions and views on certain matters that are the difficulty.