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No: 22 David Norris' Presidential Bid 2011

by Stephen Meyler

Apart from Mickey D and the two Marys, how many Uachtaráin na hEireann can you name? Until they came along, it was a procession of grey old men who seemed to have little to do apart from attend Civil War funerals or pin rosettes on things. It’s different now and since Mary Robinson, we have grown to love our presidents and all their symbolic figurehead quirks.

In 2011, it looked likely that the quirk would be the first gay president, elected a full six years before the Leo V coronation. Senator David Norris, already a secular saint for most gay people, led the polls for much of the summer and autumn ahead of the November poll. After three years of recession, it seemed many Irish people liked the idea of a theatrical Joycean hero of the gay revolution to represent them and an evolving sense of Irishness on the world stage. The 20 members of the Oireachtas the Senator needed to make the poll were largely fellow Independents, drawn to a candidate without party associations.

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