The Truth of What Norris Said in That Interview

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Byline: Cormac McQuinn

THE Irish Mail on Sunday can today reveal the shocking truth about Senator David Norris's interview with Magill magazine in 2002, in which he clearly sets out a string of highly controversial views on sex, paedophilia, the age of consent, incest and abuse.

The MoS has tracked down a copy of the interview - which was given for Mr Norris to 'set the record straight' because he felt that he had been misquoted in another newspaper on the subject of gay marriage. Since the controversy over his comments reignited last week, Mr Norris has argued that interviewer Helen Lucy Burke's presentation of his comments on paedophilia were 'misleading' and that his 'references to sexual activity' were 'taken out of context'.

However the comments were in fact part of a much longer discussion in which Mr Norris sets out a view that, by and large, people should be allowed to do whatever they want with whomever they want.

He maintains that consent should be more important than age when it comes to laws governing sexual behaviour, and does not condemn incest.

Miss Burke herself describes some of his views as 'deeply troubling'.

According to Miss Burke, the senator objected to 'state interference' in people's sex lives, recording his initially cautious comments as follows: 'I believe very strongly in people being allowed to make any choices they like, within very wide limits.

'But I also believe that once you make those choices, you should take responsibility for them.' 'I wouldn't draw the line for other people. I would hope that we could produce a society in which people would be inclined to draw lines for themselves.' It is at this point that the Trinity senator's views become controversial.

'There's a lot of nonsense about paedophilia,' he is quoted as saying, continuing, 'I can say this because I haven't the slightest interest in children, or in people who are considerably younger than me.

'I cannot understand how anybody could find children of either sex the slightest bit attractive sexually. To me, what is attractive about people is the fact that they display the signs of sexual maturity.

'But pre-pubescent children who lack any identifying characteristics of sexual maturity, I cannot understand why anybody would find them sexually appropriate. On the other hand - yes, they do find them so. But in terms of classic paedophilia, as practised by the Greeks, for example, where it is an older man introducing a younger man or boy to adult life, I think that there can be something to be said for it.' While Mr Norris reiterates that he is not attracted to the very young, he again endorses 'classical paedophilia' as something he would have enjoyed.

'Now again, this is not something that appeals to me, although when I was younger it would most certainly have appealed to me in the sense that I would have greatly relished the prospect of an older, attractive, mature man taking me under his wing, lovingly introducing me to sexual realities, and treating me with affection and teaching me about life - yes, I think that would be lovely; I would have enjoyed that. …