Independent presidential candidate David Norris has reiterated his belief that the church and state should be two completely separate bodies. Senator Norris, a long-time member of the Church of Ireland, feels secularisation is the best way forward in order to ensure the rights of both non-believers and believers are respected equally.
He admitted that secularisation is now used as a somewhat divisive term but insisted that he wished to be a bastion for the rights of all people “regardless of race, religion, education, social background or orientation”.
He said, “I am religious but I don’t wear it on my sleeve. It gives me great comfort but I also understand religion has a place in society. Problems only arise when a religious pressure group claims to be more important than anyone else. The meek shall inherit the earth, not the people who decide they are better than everyone else.”
Senator Norris elucidated his views when speaking to TellUsWhy.ie. During the interview, he also claimed to be the only individual in the race for the Áras who has “used the Constitution to help protect a marginalised minority”. He listed his involvement in the establishment of counselling services to help those in need and in setting up businesses to create employment as proof of this.
If elected, Mr Norris insisted he would “put the welfare of the people at the heart of the Presidency” – something he claimed those connected to established political parties simply could not achieve.
In a separate interview with The Irish Times, Mr Norris said he believed it would be a mistake if the Coalition took possession of the presidency as it would lead to an unhealthy “all-encompassing control of the seats of power in Ireland”.
Mr Norris praised how our previous two presidents “reinvented the role” while in office. He said changing circumstances may mean the role needs to be reinvented once more in order “to make sure that Ireland can hold its collective head high and that in our representation of the island around the world, people will continue to smile when they think of Ireland”.
Earlier today, Mr Norris dismissed the possibility of a transfer vote pact between himself and Labour’s presidential nominee Michael D Higgins, saying that it was up to the Irish people to vote in any manner they saw fit.