Embattled Fine Gael candidate told Taoiseach in gushing email: 'You left hauliers in awe'
Embattled Fine Gael by-election candidate Verona Murphy told the Taoiseach he had left hauliers "in awe" and was doing "a great job, in a difficult time" in a gushing email to his private account.
Ms Murphy, in her role as president of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), also told Leo Varadkar that Transport Minister Shane Ross had "no comprehension as to what is good for Ireland".
Ms Murphy contacted Mr Varadkar on his private email address a number of times in 2017 and 2018, telling him he was the last transport minister to "show good manners" to IRHA members and that a speech he gave to the lobby group had "left them in awe".
In a lengthy email to Mr Varadkar's private account, she said: "[I] hope the gloss isn't wearing off being An Taoiseach, I hope you can remain energised."
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Ms Murphy had contacted the Taoiseach on that occasion to invite him to the IRHA conference in April in 2018.
"The members at local branch level are insisting we invite you, particularly because of 'Brexit', and even more so because it's on your doorstep as they see it," she wrote.
In her effusive email she said IRHA members "all remember you as the 'last' transport minister to show good manners and accept their invite in 2013, and as you have made a speech at the IFA [Irish Farmers Association] agm you're snookered!"
She said Mr Varadkar's story of his grandfather being involved in the construction of a vintage livestock trailer "left them in awe".
Ms Murphy continued: "Leo, I can only say it would indeed be an even bigger honour on a personal level for me also."
She signed off her invitation: "You're doing a great job, in a difficult time."
Mr Varadkar attended the event in April 2018 and tweeted pictures of himself on a podium with large truck cabins either side of him.
Ms Murphy, who has been at the centre of a political storm over her controversial comments linking migrants to Isil and renewed focus on her time as IRHA president, was courted by Fine Gael for several months before she was announced as a general election candidate in Wexford in April.
The party has stood by her despite the Wexford by-election candidate repeatedly linking migrants in Ireland to Isil and saying that children as young as three were being "manipulated" by the terror group. Ms Murphy later apologised.
The Taoiseach canvassed with Ms Murphy in Wexford on Monday in a brief 40-minute dash around Wexford town but both refused to speak to the media.
In another email to Mr Varadkar's private account in July 2017, Ms Murphy was scathing of Shane Ross over his decision to cut the maximum load that trucks can carry on Irish roads.
Mr Ross had reduced the maximum load a five-axle articulated truck can carry from 42 to 40 tonnes in line with an EU directive - and told Ms Murphy in a letter that he would not be reviewing this decision.
As transport minister, Mr Varadkar and his successor Paschal Donohoe had signed a derogation from the EU law, but Mr Ross refused to do so, pointing out that Mr Donohoe had made it clear before he left the Department of Transport that he was not prepared to extend the derogation.
Ms Murphy told Mr Varadkar in her email: "The minister has no comprehension as to what is good for Ireland. The Danish have a saying in political circles... '[what is] good for Danish bacon is good for Denmark'. Can we discuss this further please."
Mr Varadkar forwarded the email to his adviser John Carroll but the matter was not revisited by Mr Ross.