After a conclusive victory over Fianna Fáil’s Áine Brady, Kildare’s first female TD said her elevation to the Dáil would send a very strong message to the Government.
Kildare North is now the only constituency in the country without a Government TD.
“It sends a very strong message. It puts the constituency on the map so our issues can be sorted out here. I’m going to be a thorn in their side until they deliver the school places, until they deliver the public transport, until they deliver the parks and the playgrounds. That’s what I expect from them. That’s what the public expects from them,” she said.
Following a closely fought campaign, Ms Murphy, a former Labour party councillor in Leixlip, cruised to victory by a margin of 2,500 votes.
The 51-year-old mother of two soaked up votes from all quarters as transfers otherwise bound for Fine Gael/Labour pact went in her direction.
Although she topped the poll after the first count with 6,201 first preferences, Fianna Fáil’s Áine Brady relinquished the lead in the fourth count as transfers from Labour’s Paddy MacNamara went to Ms Murphy.
A final count transfer of 3,447 votes from Fine Gael’s Darren Scully then sealed a comprehensive victory, leaving Ms Murphy with a final vote of 12,256 - just under the quota of 12,657.
Watched by independent Dublin TD Tony Gregory and independent MEP Marian Harkin, Ms Murphy said she looked forward to working with the other independent TDs.
“They are advocates for their community. It’s the kind of politics that I’m most comfortable with.
“Electing an independent focuses on one thing; it focuses on the issues. Nobody can say that they don’t know that there’s a problem with school places. Nobody can say that they don’t know that there’s a problem with the amount of hours that people are spending in traffic.
“I intend to be, for the next couple of years, an absolute thorn in the side to make sure that they don’t forget that and they deliver on those things,” she said.
While Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said Catherine Murphy had received just reward for her years of effort, defeated Fianna Fáil candidate Áine Brady said Kildare North would suffer without a Government representative.
“I think it is very sad that there is no voice in Government for Kildare North. I think she’s very limited in what she can do in the opposition benches,” she said.
However - along with PD candidate Kate Walsh and Fine Gael’s Darren Scully - the Green Party’s JJ Power paid tribute to Ms Murphy, saying he hoped she had as much of an impact in the Dáil as she has had on Kildare County Council.
“I feel Catherine Murphy is a wonderful candidate. I feel that the county council will be the poorer for her going,” he said.