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Fine Gael confirms Verona Murphy to be dropped from party's general election ticket

It’s in the wake of a controversial by-election campaign which saw her come in for sustained criticism.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated Dec 18th 2019, 10:38 PM

VERONA MURPHY IS to be dropped from the Wexford Fine Gael general election ticket, the party has confirmed. 

It’s in the wake of a controversial by-election campaign last month which saw her come in for sustained criticism for a series of comments about migrants. 

Murphy, the head of the Irish Road Haulage Association, was named last April alongside serving TDs Paul Kehoe and Michael D’Arcy on the Fine Gael general election ticket. 

After finishing in third place to Fianna Fáil and Labour in the Wexford by-election, a defiant Verona Murphy insisted she still had her sights set on the general election. 

Murphy was officially removed from the election ticket at a meeting of the Fine Gael Executive Council tonight. 

A statement from Fine Gael this evening read: “Fine Gael’s Executive Council has this evening decided to deselect Verona Murphy as a candidate for the Wexford constituency for the next general election.”

Fine Gael confirmed that Ministers Michael D’Arcy and Paul Kehoe are the selected candidates for the Wexford constituency. 

At the same meeting, it was decided to add Councillor Karen Coakley to the party’s ticket for the Cork South West constituency. 

Councillor Coakley now joins Senator Tim Lombard in contesting the next general election. 

Speculation

Paschal Donohoe, who is the party’s Director of Elections, had a one-on-one meeting with Murphy yesterday evening. Speaking to reporters this morning, Donohoe would not confirm whether Murphy was to be removed from the ticket.

I have met Verona Murphy now on a number of occasions over the last number of days. And I’m not going to comment further on the matter, until the Executive Council and the Taoiseach make a statement on that.

The minister said the way in which a candidate is removed from a ticket is dealt with by the Executive Council.

When Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was asked about Murphy during his interview on RTÉ’s Marian Finucane show, he said that her apology at the time was “enough” for him to campaign with her afterwards.

But Varadkar added that he had a “big problem” with a video released on Verona Murphy’s social media, which blamed the media for the controversy – Varadkar said that this suggested to him that her apology “maybe wasn’t sincere”.

The executive council takes core organisational decisions for the party and is elected each year at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis. 

- With reporting from Christina Finn and Hayley Halpin

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Daragh Brophy

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