Senator David Norris Photo: Seanad Independent Group

David Norris announces retirement from Seanad

Gay rights activist and Joycean scholar is longest-serving member of upper house

Colleagues in the Seanad Independent Group today paid tribute to Senator David Norris after he confirmed that he will be retiring in January 2024, completing his political career as the longest-serving Irish senator.

Senator Norris announced his retirement in an interview published by Trinity News on Tuesday. First elected to the Dublin University Constituency in 1987, Senator Norris is the person credited with having overthrown Ireland’s anti-homosexuality law following a campaign involving court cases that lasted for over 14 years. He was the founder of the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform and was the first openly gay person elected to public office in Ireland.

Group whip Senator Michael McDowell spoke highly of his colleague during the Order of Business in the Seanad Chamber saying: “I want to express my deep sense of friendship, gratitude and loyalty to a member of my group.”

Group leader Senator Victor Boyhan followed in with a tribute.

"He has good plans, and I wish him well. I want to join my colleagues in paying tribute to David Norris.”

Senator Norris will split his time between Cyprus and Dublin once he retires from the Seanad.

Seanad Cathaoirleach Senator Jerry Buttimer joined in the tributes by saying that he and other members of the LGBTQ+ community owe Senator Norris a huge debt of gratitude.