David Norris (politician)

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David Patrick Bernard Norris (born 1 July 1944) is an Irish civil rights campaigner and independent politician. He is a former university lecturer and longtime member of Seanad Éireann.[1] He is the founder of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform and is a prominent member of the Church of Ireland. Norris was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland.[2]



Early life

Norris was born in Leopoldville in the Belgian Congo. When his father died, Norris, then a small child, went to Ireland for the first time. Norris' cousins came to meet him when he arrived by ship into Dublin. Norris has spoken of the disappointment on the faces of his cousins when they discovered that their 'African' cousin was not black. A Protestant, he has spoken of the unease he felt as a youngster about the identification of being Irish without being a Catholic.[citation needed]

Education and academic career

Norris attended school at St. Andrew's College and The High School. He then entered Trinity College, Dublin to read for the degree of B.A. in English Literature and Language, where he was elected a Foundation Scholar in that subject before achieving a 1st Class Moderatorship and editing Icarus. He remained at Trinity as a lecturer and college tutor between 1968 and 1996. His love of Joyce is borne out in Dublin's annual Bloomsday celebrations. He defended Ulysses when Roddy Doyle said it was "overlong, overrated and unmoving", calling Doyle a "foolish" and "moderate talent".[3]

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