by Frank Schnittger
Sun Apr 4th, 2010 at 04:03:54 AM EST
From Thursday April 1st
Front-paged with an edit by afew
David Norris is most well known for his frequent media appearances on humorous, topical or current affairs programmes. All his political life he has campaigned for gay rights, for the preservation of the Irish Georgian and other architectural heritage, and for the role of the arts in Irish society.
The food was terrible: the worst exemplar of factory produced institutional food, but David Norris was his usual entertaining self full of risqué allusions to his own homosexuality and the ups and downs of a career politicians life in staid old Ireland. That a protestant, openly gay, intellectual independent politician with a West Brit accent actually stands some chance of election should he manage to secure a nomination speaks volumes for how much Ireland has changed in the last few decades.
His main problem as an independent will be in securing a nomination: A candidate for President must be nominated by at least twenty members of the Oireachtas (national parliament) or at least four county or city councils which tend to be controlled by the larger parties. However the Labour Party did nominate Mary Robinson when she was an independent, and Norris is following in the footsteps of both Presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese in having a close association with Trinity College. The critical factor may be whether other prominent party personnel also decide to seek the nomination.
Outside the Dail some people were protesting against the "Head Shops" which have sprung up all over Ireland particularly in the last two years selling various chemically additive substances which have not been specifically declared illegal by the Irish Authorities. I spoke to Councillor Paul O'Shea who was protesting the opening of such shops in his own town of Ennis in County Clare:
(With apologies for my poor camera work)
On my way to the Dail I happened to pass the headquarters of the Anglo Irish bank on St. Stephen's Green where some Gardai were posted outside. I asked were they there to guard the 8.3 Billion the Irish taxpayers had just gifted the bank the previous day, but apparently the Gardai were there in expectation of a protest demonstration which my old friend Joe Higgins, MEP, addressed later in the day.
As I was leaving the Dail another demonstration was taking place, organised by Quinn Healthcare workers worried at losing their jobs when the company was placed in administration. Things are happening fast in the Ireland of today. Now if we could only stop the politicians from screwing it all up!