Israel has dismissed suggestion that it publicised a controversial letter which ended the Presidential campaign of Senator David Norris.

Norris, who would have been Ireland's first gay President and the first gay President in Europe, withdrew from the race after a clemency plea letter for his former partner, who was convicted of statutory rape of a 15 year old Palestinian boy, came to light.

Norris gave the letter, sent to an Israeli court by Norris in 1997, to the Sunday Independent but suggestions have been made that it had already been leaked.

The Israeli embassy denied any suggestion that it was responsible for the publication of Norris's letter.

A spokesperson for the embassy said: "There is much admiration in Israel for Senator Norris's work in Ireland in the cause of human rights and in particular for his endeavours for reform of the laws relating to homosexuality."

Norris said that he did not agree with the speculation being made against the Israeli embassy and that the whole situation had become shrouded in conspiracy theories.

Norris told Today FM: "I would not make such allegations because that would immediately create a very complicated and delicate situation between two states, both of whose people I loved, and I think it would be a most un-presidential thing to do."

Before the scandal Norris was a consistent poll leader in the Presidential race. He acknowledged the damage the scandal had caused after members of the Irish parliament withdrew their support on Tuesday night, followed by the resignation of several election workers.

A candidate cannot stand for Irish presidency without the support of 20 TDs or senators, unless they command the support of a number of county councils.

One council had agreed to back Norris but many had refused to even meet with him.

The statutory rape conviction of Ezra Yizhak Nawi, Norris's former partner, was brought to public attention by pro-Israeli Irish blogger John Connolly, 22, further fuelling speculation. Connelly denies any contact with the Israeli embassy or the Israeli secret service regarding the issue.

Finian McGrath, Independent Dublin North Central TD, called for a full investigation from Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore into Israeli involvement, "particularly following the passports scandal".

An official from the Israeli embassy was expelled last year following the use of eight fake Irish passports in an assassination carried out by Mossad, the Israeli secret service.

Speaking outside his home in Dublin, Norris said: "I deeply regret the most recent of all the controversies concerning my former partner of 25 years ago, Ezra Nawi. The fallout from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in my political and personal life. It is essential that I act decisively now to halt this process."

He added: "As I came across the Samuel Beckett bridge today into my mind came his words about humanity and frailty: 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.' "