Belfast Telegraph

Harris: Move to deselect Murphy as poll candidate ‘looking better by the moment’

Health Minister Simon Harris said Fine Gael was right to deselect Verona Murphy over controversial remarks she made about migrants.

Verona Murphy (IRHA/PA)
Verona Murphy (IRHA/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

Fine Gael’s decision to deselect Verona Murphy as an election candidate “is looking better by the moment”, the Health Minister has said.

The Fine Gael Executive Council decided on Wednesday night to deselect Ms Murphy as a candidate for the Wexford constituency in the next general election.

She courted controversy throughout her by-election campaign in Co Wexford last month, during which she apologised after claiming some asylum seekers coming to Ireland have to be “deprogrammed” as they “carry angst” and may have been “infiltrated by Isis”.

In an interview with her local radio station, South East Radio, on Thursday morning, she said her remarks about migrants during the campaign had been misrepresented in the media and she was “silenced” by Fine Gael when they placed a media ban on her.

Ms Murphy told the station that during her tenure as president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, she has been privy to information surrounding potential security issues regarding migrants.

She said: “Do we have to wait for a London Bridge incident to happen on Wexford Bridge?”

Health Minister Simon Harris told reporters in Dublin on Thursday: “If we sought to silence her we clearly failed. The decision to deselect her is looking better by the moment.

“I think if anybody who engages in stoking what I believe to be unfair and racist fears has no place in the Fine Gael party.

“I thought the comments she made this morning, which I don’t wish to repeat… I thought they gave a great insight into why she has been deselected as a candidate.”

Ms Murphy told the station she would “take stock” over Christmas and decide in the next few weeks whether she will stand again and run as an independent candidate in the general election.

PA

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