Best wishes to Senator David Norris

Posted on: 25 January 2024

Now known as the ‘Father of the Seanad’, David first came to Trinity to study English in 1964 and was elected a Foundation Scholar the following year. A passionate Joycean scholar, David lectured in English at the University from 1968 to 1994 and was elected as a University of Dublin Senator in 1987. 

David Norris and Mary Robinson in Trinity in 2015

Then-Senator David Norris with then-Chancellor of the University, Mary Robinson.

During his time as lecturer, David and nine others came together on campus in 1973 to establish the Sexual Liberation Movement (SLM) which, among other things, campaigned for law reform and held Ireland’s first gay disco in 21 Westland Row, co-incidentally the birthplace of Oscar Wilde. 

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland in 1993, thanks in large part to David’s famous legal case in the European Court of Human Rights. The Court found that Ireland’s criminalisation of homosexual acts was in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights. The finding marked a turning point in the campaign for equality.  

As a University of Dublin Senator, David spoke on issues ranging from marriage equality to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes and bills relating to the protection and conservation of Dublin’s built heritage. 

“Trinity sends its warmest wishes to David Norris on his retirement,” said Trinity’s Provost Linda Doyle. “We have been so proud to call David a ‘Trinity Senator’, he has made such an outstanding contribution to Irish public life and to Trinity itself. His impact has been immeasurable. Our very best wishes, David, for a long and happy retirement.” 


Trinity and Seanad Éireann 

Trinity elects three Senators to the Seanad and all alumni of the University are eligible to register to vote within the constituency of University of Dublin (DU). Registration for this year’s electoral register closes at midnight on the 26th February.

If you are eligible to vote, you can register here.