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Fine Gael candidate Verona Murphy issues second apology as more asylum seeker remarks emerge

It follows an apology this morning for comments she made on RTÉ yesterday.

Image: Fine Gael

FINE GAEL BY-ELECTION candidate Verona Murphy has issued a second apology over remarks she made about asylum seekers, as more comments she made about refugees were reported this evening. 

The Wexford candidate first apologised yesterday after linking asylum seekers to ISIS and calling for them to be “deprogrammed” on RTÉ’s This Week Programme yesterday.

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

However, The Irish Times reported this evening that Murphy made further comments linking migrants to the terrorist group while canvassing in Wexford last Friday.

“It sounds callous, but I am under no illusion that Isis is a big part of the migrant population,” she is reported to have told the newspaper.

“We have to protect our own society and we do have to integrate [asylum seekers], we do have to give them the support services to alleviate that type of indoctrination and I think that is where Oughterard people were coming from.”

In a joint statement with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan this evening, Murphy said she had visited an Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre in Waterford this evening and apologised again for her comments.

Speaking about those she met at the centre, Murphy said she had heard harrowing stories which had a “profound impact” on her understanding of the issues facing asylum seekers.

“All they want is the chance to live safely and without fear. I understand that wish,” she said.

“I realise now I had a poor understanding of asylum issues and I apologise wholeheartedly for my remarks.

“We are a welcoming country and I am proud of that fact. I believe we must do everything to prevent division and anti-migrant sentiment.”

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan also said that Murphy had gained “enormous insights” from her visit and that she would use them to promote a more positive understanding of the issues affecting those seeking asylum in Ireland,

“Verona has acknowledged that her statements on asylum seekers and refugees were not based on fact,” he said.

“They were based on false rumours and misinformation. She has apologised for her remarks.”

Flanagan added that it was sad that misinformation was threatening to take root in Ireland and was being spread maliciously and naively, including on social media.

“I believe that public representatives and those running for election must step up and confront fabrications.”

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