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'She's completely wrong': Transport minister blasts Fine Gael candidate over call to scrap RSA

Verona Murphy has clashed with the RSA in her role with the Irish Road Hauliers’ Association.

Image: Leah Farrell

TRANSPORT MINISTER SHANE Ross has vociferously dismissed a suggestion from Fine Gael by-election candidate Verona Murphy that the Road Safety Authority should be abolished.

Murphy, who is running in the Wexford by-election, was severely critical of the RSA in her capacity as president of the Irish Road Hauliers’ Association (IRHA). 

In a blistering email to road safety chief Moyagh Murdock, Murphy refused to meet with the authority and attacked its competence and effectiveness.

“We just cannot sweep the level of organisational dysfunctionality, inefficiency and poor regulatory oversight by the RSA under the carpet and proceed as if the organisation is fit for purpose,” the email, first reported the Irish Independent, reads.

The email was sent on 5 November, a mere two days before the writ for the by-election was moved. Murphy stood down as IRHA president to compete for the Dáil seat.

Murphy previously called for the authority to be abolished amid the war of words. Transport Minister Shane Ross rejected the suggestion when questioned about Murphy’s views on RTÉ’s News At One programme today.

“I think she’s completely and utterly wrong about that. She’s free to say that if she wants to, as a Fine Gael candidate. It’s quite obvious that the Taoiseach has already told her that is neither Fine Gael policy,” he said. 

It’s not my policy. It’s not government policy. It’s nobody’s policy. The RSA has been an absolute bulwark of energy in promoting road safety.

Ross defended the authority’s record in reducing road deaths, which dropped to a record low last year and said he was “completely behind” how it regulates, and enforces regulations, in the haulage sector.

The transport minister’s comments echo remarks made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who backed the RSA last week.

Speaking in the Dáil today Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin raised concerns about media reports of RSA safety inspectors being interfered with.

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The comments come after The Business Post reported that Murphy had been warned not to phone the RSA’s safety inspectors as they were carrying out roadside checks.

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Ceimin Burke

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