Friday 24 January 2020

'I'm glad Murphy was not elected - it was mistake to pick her,' says Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Verona Murphy. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Verona Murphy. Photo: Douglas O’Connor
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is glad Verona Murphy did not get elected to the Dáil, and accepted it was a mistake to pick her as a candidate in Wexford.

Fine Gael removed Ms Murphy as a general election candidate this week following her controversial by-election campaign, in which her remarks linking migrants with Isil drew widespread condemnation.

Ms Murphy has sparked a war of words with Fine Gael in the past 24 hours after she appeared to stand over raising concerns about migrants, insisting it was a security issue. "Do we have to wait to have a London Bridge incident on Wexford Bridge?" she said on South East Radio.

Ms Murphy also described Simon Harris as "probably one of the worst ministers for health" who will "go down in history deflecting from his own ineptitude".

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Mr Varadkar said: "In terms of Verona herself, quite frankly, I'm glad she didn't get elected because what we have seen in her recent interviews is that she unfortunately does harbour these views towards migrants.

"You know, we heard the comment about Wexford Bridge and London Bridge. That is raising the spectre that migration may result in terrorist attacks in Ireland, and that's just not factual, and is just really inflammatory I think.

"It really feeds into the kind of racist views and xenophobic views that unfortunately are harboured by a lot of people, or at least some people in our society, and had she been elected I think she would have been emboldened, I think we would've heard more of that.

"But it would have been coming from a TD and I think she wouldn't have lasted long in Fine Gael for those reasons, because clearly these are views she holds and they are not views that are acceptable in the party that I lead, they are not in accordance with Fine Gael values."

Irish Independent

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