Cork North Central TD Dara Murphy rejected the claims made by Mary O’Brien on local radio stations yesterday morning.
Ms O’Brien, who is retired from the Cope Foundation, yesterday claimed that Mr Murphy made the remarks following an encounter with his canvass team in Mayfield on Cork’s northside on Monday.
She said she interrupted Mr Murphy on his canvass while en route to the shop and remonstrated with him over the withdrawal of medical cards for children with special needs.
Ms O’Brien claimed that, having told canvassers not to come to her home, one said: “Do you know what you’ll do now? You go home, little woman, and sit down on your arm chair and have your cup of tea.”
She then said she told them to “eff off” to which a canvasser allegedly replied: “Piss off”.
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Meeting Mr Murphy again on her way home from the shop, Ms O’Brien took the opportunity to ask him for his opinion on Enda Kenny’s “whinger” comments made in Castlebar last weekend.
She claimed Mr Murphy said: “Well he was right, and it was the likes of you he was getting at,” before walking away.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, Mr Murphy denied making the comments relating to Mr Kenny’s “whinger” remarks. He said he had followed up claims that a canvasser told Ms O’Brien to “piss off” but all his team have denied saying it.
He did concede that one of his canvassers suggested that Ms O’Brien should have a cup of tea, but said they did not refer to her as a “little woman”.
“I do accept that there was clearly banter between us, and there was bad language used by this lady while I was talking to other people about their issues,” Mr Murphy said.
“The reality is that it is important that we can call around areas and canvass. Canvassers are human beings and deserve to be treated with some decorum. This lady said that she voted Sinn Féin and that is her right, but it is equally our right to canvass and talk to other people.”
Last night, Ms O’Brien rejected Mr Murphy’s account of events. She said that she was upset after the encounter and called her daughter.
Her granddaughter subsequently posted the account on Facebook, which lead to the widespread attention.
“Why would I say this if it wasn’t true?” Ms O’Brien said. “He actually smirked as he said it. I came home all upset. I was upset after the first time I met him. I was in SuperValu afterwards thinking I should have asked him his opinion on what Enda Kenny said.
“When I saw him again I saw red and brought it up with him. But he did say that, why would I make it up? I shouldn’t have said it, but they got my blood up.”