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FG candidate Verona Murphy apologises for saying some asylum seekers need to be 'deprogrammed'

Murphy is a candidate in the upcoming Wexford by-election.

Image: Fine Gael

FINE GAEL ELECTION candidate Verona Murphy has issued an apology over her comments suggesting asylum seekers coming to Ireland have to be “deprogrammed” as they may have been “infiltrated by ISIS”. 

Murphy, a by-election candidate in Wexford and president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, made the comments speaking on RTÉ’s This Week Programme. 

“I believe there are issues with the direct provision, and I believe that the people of Oughterard were absolutely justified because they hadn’t been given enough information,” she said. 

“There people are coming from such war-torn countries that they have to be deprogrammed, for the want of a better word, but through support services. 

“They carry angst that you wouldn’t ordinarily see, possibly infiltrated by ISIS, and we have to protect ourselves against that. 

“There are support services available, but they have to be available as much as the accommodation. Do not house those people where those support services are not readily available.”

In a statement following the broadcast, Murphy described her comments as a “poor choice of words”. 

“This was a very poor choice of words and I am very sorry to anyone who was offended by them,” she said. 

“People coming here fleeing persecution deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. They need to be given opportunities to forge a new start for themselves and their families.

“The point I was trying to make was that some people coming to this country do so from very difficult circumstances and the support services they need here have a vital role in helping them.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Minster of State, Damien English said he did not agree with the Wexford candidate’s views. 

“To be clear on this, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t agree with what Verona said and Fine Gael wouldn’t agree with those views,” he said. 

“They were completely wrong and they were out-of-order, they were a poor choice of words… they didn’t come out right, she has corrected that. 

English said that Murphy’s comments were made during a broadcast in which a number of issues were discussed and as she has now apologised for her comments, “that is good enough for me”.

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