Former Fine Gael by-election Verona Murphy is to announce on Tuesday whether she will run as an Independent candidate in Wexford in the upcoming General Election.
Ms Murphy said last month that she was “taking time out” over the Christmas and new year period, to consider her options ahead of the imminent announcement by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the exact date of when the nation will go to the polls.
Sources close to Ms Murphy are indicating that the popular Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) president has “still to finally decide" her next move but will make her decision known ”for sure on Tuesday”.
She has not been active on social media since December 20 however her official Facebook page declares her as a Dáil candidate.
In December, Ms Murphy said on South East radio that she was “silenced” by the Fine Gael party as a result of controversial remarks in which she claimed that asylum seekers as young as three may have been “infiltrated” by terrorists Islamic State (IS) and need to be “deprogrammed”.
The Taoiseach previously said he decided to drop Ms Murphy as an election candidate as her apology over her comments about migrants “wasn’t sincere” and that he was “glad” she wasn’t elected.
Ms Murphy came second on first preference or 23.8% of the votes in last November’s by-election to Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne. The election was held due to a seat vacated by Mick Wallace on his election to the European Parliament in May 2019.
Wallace received 11.1% of the votes in the 2016 General Election.
Local newspaper reports in the New Ross Standard suggest that Councillors Brídin Murphy and John Hegarty are being considered as options in terms of replacing Ms Murphy on the Fine Gael party ticket for Wexford.
Her closest opponent in the south of the county is Fianna Fáil chairman of Wexford County Council Michael Sheehan and is seen to have a solid chance of being elected.
The Wexford constituency is a five seater. The current TDs fighting to reclaim there seats will be Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne and James Browne, Fine Gael’s Michael D’arcy and Paul Kehoe, Labour’s Brendan Howlin.
There are currently four TDs in the northern half of the county and one in the southern half - there are none south of the N25. In other words 40% of the county’s population has 80% of the TDs.
Other candidates expected to run in the constituency are Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Lisa McDonald, Sinn Féin’s Johnny Mythen, Renua’s Ger O’Donoghue, Susan Green for People Before Profit and Independent Ger Carthy who ran in the 2016 General Election.
The Green Party’s Karin Dubsky, Cllr Jim Codd of Aontú, David Lloyd representing Direct Democracy Ireland may also run.