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Verona Murphy: 'Do we have to wait for a London Bridge incident on Wexford Bridge?'

The former Fine Gael candidate says she has been called racist for ‘raising security issues’.

Verona Murphy gives a speech in the Wexford count centre after failing to be elected.
Verona Murphy gives a speech in the Wexford count centre after failing to be elected.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

FORMER FINE GAEL candidate Verona Murphy says she has been called a racist for “raising security issues”, adding: “Do we have to wait for a London Bridge incident on Wexford Bridge?” 

Murphy was speaking to South East Radio after she was dropped from the Fine Gael ticket for the upcoming general election. 

The decision was taken 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. 

After finishing in third place to Fianna Fáil and Labour in the Wexford by-election, Murphy had said she wished to contest the general election for Fine Gael after being selected to do so in April of this year. 

Murphy told the programme that she was informed by the party leadership that she was being deselected. 

“Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe came to Enniscorthy and he informed me that I was being deselected as a candidate for Fine Gael. And he just said basically there was a difference of opinion on many issues but the particular one was the migrant issue,” Murphy said.

We had too many issues that we couldn’t agree on. They had differing opinions to mine and that Fine Gael as a party structure didn’t wish to represent my views and my opinions. 

Murphy, President of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), said the entire experience has been “very harrowing” and difficult for her parents especially. 

During the by-election campaign, Murphy apologised after linking asylum seekers to Isis and calling for them to be “deprogrammed”.

She also made further comments linking migrants to the terrorist group and said that Isis had “manipulated children as young as three or four”.

Asked about her comments today, Murphy said she stands by her apology but claims to be privy to information that TDs would not be.

I’m at the coalface. As president, I have attended security briefings on unrestricted migration. Briefings given by Interpol, the MI5, the UK Border Force. I doubt anybody in Dáil Éireann has as much experience of the migrant issue as I have. I apologise for the unfortunate use of language and that’s what it was, but the issue I raised was the security issue.

“I apologised for the language which I used, I could have used a better choice. I didn’t, it was in the moment the media, it was being recorded. It was not the intention to cause offence and I’ve apologised in person to the people offended and I stand over that,” Murphy added. 

Despite this, Murphy claims her words have been “misrepresented in the media” and that her comments were based on security concerns. 

“Do we have to wait to have a London Bridge incident on Wexford Bridge?,” she said. 

“Am I, as a person, not allowed to raise the security issue that these unrestricted migrants bring.

The fact is, I am not a racist but I’m being called a racist for raising those issues.

After her comments about a potential attack in Ireland, Murphy referred to media reports linking a perpetrator of an earlier London terror attack to Ireland, as well a case in which a man was jailed by an Irish judge for transferring money to Isis.

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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