A Fine Gael by-election candidate has been accused of cynically using a vulnerable group of people to deflect from the failings of Government.
Verona Murphy, who is standing in the Wexford by-election for Fine Gael, has apologised for remarks made to three different media organisations about asylum seekers and has visited a direct provision centre in her constituency.
However, members from across the opposition have lashed out at Ms Murphy who suggested asylum seeker children as young as three years of age need to be "deprogrammed" as they may have been manipulated by ISIS.
Labour leader Brendan Howlin said it was a cynical move to think Ms Murphy could be "rehabilitated" by simply visiting asyulm seekers and issuing a statement apologising for her remarks.
"It is unacceptable and it does real damage to the integration process," he said.
Using the most vulnerable people who are in a place of safety as a sort of a shield to rehabilitate a candidate for a political purpose that's just not acceptable.
Sitting Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Brown accused Ms Murphy of targeting vulnerable asylum seekers to distract from the Government's poor record on homelessness, health and other issues.
"She's clearly campaigning on this issue of immigration now she's raised it on these three different interviews and what she's trying to do is distract from the lack of services and lack of delivery for Wexford and instead is targeting a vulnerable group in our society.
"Her comments are absolutely outrageous, they are totally wrong and the vast majority people in Wexford do not agree with them.
I would have no question about condemning it if anyone in my own party made similar comments, they are absolutely outrageous.
Social Democrat co-leader Roisin Shortall said Ms Murphy's comments were "reprehensible" and "ill-advised".
She said visiting the direct provision centre was a "cynical move".