Friday 6 December 2019

Profile: After being dropped by Leo, Murphy headed to Brussels

Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy. Photo: Tom Burke Newsdesk Newsdesk

Dara Murphy's career in Irish politics has been shorter than most.

A former lord mayor of Cork, he was elected to the Dáil in 2011 and was largely anonymous on the backbenches for three years until Taoiseach Enda Kenny surprised many by appointing him European Affairs Minister in the 2014 reshuffle. It is one of the most important junior ministries.

But Mr Murphy only made headlines in 2015 when it emerged that an on-duty garda drove him and his wife over 200km from Cork to Dublin Airport so that he could make an early morning flight to Brussels for EU meetings.

He relied on a Government protocol to allow ministers to phone gardaí for assistance as a last resort - but he was widely criticised.

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Two years later, Mr Murphy backed Simon Coveney for the Fine Gael leadership, and was subsequently dropped by new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Realising his career in Irish politics could be at an end, he used Brussels contacts to land a job as the European People's Party campaign director for last May's European elections.

Mr Murphy relished the role and appeared at ease in EU-land. Critics back home queried why he was allowed to effectively double-job as a TD, claiming a €96,000 salary and expenses.

Last summer it was reported he clocked into the Dáil on days he was tweeting updates from different EU countries.

Mr Murphy insisted he was fully compliant with the rules of the Dáil - where he hasn't spoken in two years.

Irish Independent

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