Embattled junior minister Dara Murphy has been selected to run as Fine Gael’s sole candidate in Cork North Central after a tight-run selection convention last night.
The European Affairs Minister — who has been embroiled in controversy since it emerged last week that he was driven to Dublin Airport in a Garda car after his own car broke down in north Cork — was selected over Senator Colm Burke by 16 votes at a constituency selection convention chaired by Housing and Planning Minister Paudie Coffey.
It is understood he won 188 votes to Senator Burke’s 172.
Mr Murphy, who said he was grateful for the support, said his focus is now turning to representing Fine Gael in the election campaign.
It's official! Minister Dara Murphy has been selected at the FG selection convention to stand in #Cork North Central— Eoin English (@EoinBearla) September 28, 2015
He declined to comment on criticism from the Tánaiste and Environment Minister over his use of Garda resources to get to Dublin Airport.
I understand Minister Dara Murphy got the nod over Sen Colm Burke in #Cork North Central by just 16 votes. 188 to 172.— Eoin English (@EoinBearla) September 28, 2015
“I am not going to comment on that [criticism],” he said. “Everyone is entitled to their own view on any issue.
“It was a difficult situation to be put in. I had a choice to make and I made it on the night, in the dark, and in the rain at 3.30am.
“But I am certainly very grateful for the support that I have got. This is an issue that certainly seemed to attract an enormous amount of attention.
“I think I have answered all of the questions on many occasions now and I don’t propose to re-answer them again. Other than I will say that I work extremely hard, particularly over weekends.
“I travel a lot. It is difficult for TDs who are commuting a lot from outside of the capital city.”
He also said he would be asking voters to give his junior ministerial colleague in the four-seat constituency, Labour’s Kathleen Lynch, their number two vote.
Delegates at the packed event last night said that it was one of the best-attended Cork North Central selection conventions in recent years.
Meanwhile, in Cork South Central, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and party colleague, TD Jerry Buttimer, were both selected to run for Fine Gael.
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