Fine Gael is preparing to dump Verona Murphy as a general election candidate following her “disastrous” campaign in Wexford.
Even though she came second behind Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne, the tone and tenor of her campaign hasve ignited fury within the party, with several ministers criticising her yesterday.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that what she said in her comments was wrong, and her choice of language about migrants was not acceptable.
“She made a mistake and she had a very tough time, and she has learned some very valuable lessons,” he said.
“You cannot speak about vulnerable communities the way she did, and she apologised. She was absolutely wrong in what she said.
It is understood that a full review of all results will now be conducted by the party, with several party sources saying a decision on her future “must happen before Christmas”.
Ms Murphy’s claim of being the victim of a character assassination by the media was strongly rejected by several Cabinet members.
Speaking on Newstalk, social protection minister Regina Doherty said she doesn’t believe Ms Murphy was the victim of a character assassination.
She said she herself has previously been in a situation where she had “a lot of media attention over maybe a 10-day period” — entirely of her own making”.
“It’s not a pleasant place to be,” she said. “It’s horrible and it’s nasty, but it’s entirely of your own making. So you learn by these mistakes and you move on.
“I hope that’s what’s happened [with] Verona — as said, I don’t share some of her views, but that doesn’t make her a bad candidate or a bad person.
“What I definitely don’t think is that she went courting that particular kind of right-wing vote.”
Government chief whip Sean Kyne told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics that Ms Murphy’s video was not an official party video and that the party does not stand by the comments made.
He added that the party’s national executive reviews election tickets from time to time and “I’m sure following these by-elections it will be no different in Wexford”.