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Verona will stand as an independent

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Verona Murphy who has confirmed she will run as an independent candidate

Verona Murphy who has confirmed she will run as an independent candidate

Verona Murphy who has confirmed she will run as an independent candidate

Verona Murphy has announced that she is running as an Independent candidate in the General Election.

Ms Murphy said having reflected on her by-election campaign and subsequent de-selection from the Fine Gael ticket she feels the time is right to run for Dáil Eireann as an Independent.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is set to announce a date for the General Election this week, with political pundits suggesting February 7 or St Valentine's Day as the likeliest dates.

Ms Murphy came third in the by-election, having been in second place behind Malcolm Byrne by virtue of a strong 9,543 first preference vote - before being leapfrogged by Wexford Mayor George Lawlor - following a massive transfer to him from Sinn Fein's Johnny Mythen.

She said: 'My time with Fine Gael is over, I have moved on, I am now an Independent candidate. My brief experience with Fine Gael thought me a lot. I am now satisfied that life as an independent is the appropriate forum for me. It allows me to highlight without fear the issues which affect the people of County Wexford. After all politics is not about the politician it's about the people they represent.'

The Ramsgrange woman said all of the main parties are limiting free speech.

'I have learned this first-hand. An independent politician is free to highlight any issues that affect the people of Wexford without fear. Wexford needs is a strong independent voice. I believe I have the skill set to do that job.'

Ms Murphy is campaigning on the following issues: 'Obtaining Tier 1 Status for Rosslare Europort, improved mental health facilities for Wexford, improved services and policies to alleviate the Dublin/rural divide, a third level facility for Wexford and improve affordable housing supply.'

When asked is she will be highlighting security issues for the country over the coming weeks, the President of the Irish Road Haulage Association said: 'I will always where I feel it necessary and appropriate highlight security issues.'

Ms Murphy said her much commented falling out with Taoiseach Leo Varadar and Fine Gael is in the past. 'That campaign is over now. I am very resilient, and I am looking forward to the future.'

She addressed the Fine Gael party at a meeting in Enniscorthy on Monday night last week at which she thanked the party for giving her an opportunity.

Ms Murphy shot to national prominence becoming the most high profile candidate in the by-election when she made comments about immigrants, including that there was a possibility children as young as three had been infiltrated by Isis and that some migrants may need to be deprogrammed.

Ms Murphy said the New Ross Standard accurately reported her comments.

'The comments were not intended to be racist, the people of Wexford know I am not racist. I have also dealt with this issue in my interviews before Christmas, I do not intend to comment any further.'

She said her legal team is considering taking legal action against some media organisations for allegedly misreporting comments first reported in this newspaper.

'County Wexford needs strong voices in Dáil Eireann. I am that strong voice, I want to be elected for my ability not my gender.'

Ms Murphy is funding her campaign through loans and from personal resources. 'Should people like to make a contribution they can do so in line with the SIPO rules.'

Ms Murphy said she is running to win and not to restore her reputation, which she claims was the subject of a character assassination attempt in some media outlets during the end of her campaign in November.

'I will work to represent the people of Wexford who are being left behind by Dublin centric policies. The Government has failed rural Ireland, mental health services in Wexford, Wexford farmers, fishermen, Rosslare Europort, job creation in Wexford. As a businesswoman, a three-time President of the IRHA and as an EU appointed advocate for women in transport I stand on my record I always stand by my comments, I may apologise for the language used, however the issued raised in those comments stand.'

Wexford People