New Ross Standard - - FRONT PAGE - By DAVID LOOBY

EM­BAT­TLED Fine Gael can­di­date Verona Mur­phy will run as an In­de­pen­dent if Fine Gael de­cide to re­move her from the Gen­eral Elec­tion ticket, sources close to the Rams­grange woman have said.

Hav­ing been cho­sen to run for the party in April by Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar amid much fan­fare, Mur­phy be­came em­broiled in a bat­tle with the me­dia and ended up feel­ing the wrath of Fine Gael min­is­ters and even the Taoiseach for her com­ments about young mi­grants to Ire­land be­ing ma­nip­u­lated by Isis, in par­tic­u­lar.

She came third in the by-elec­tion, los­ing out on sec­ond place to Labour’s George Lawlor by 71 votes. A party source said it would suit deputies Paul Ke­hoe and Michael D’Arcy Jnr to have Mur­phy off the ticket.

‘At the mo­ment the me­dia hype is fren­zied and re­lent­less. Ev­ery­body needs to take a step back and take a deep breath and look at the re­al­ity of the sit­u­a­tion. It’s clear from her com­ments on Satur­day evening that she ab­so­lutely will be run­ning and given the type of char­ac­ter she is, ob­vi­ously an In­de­pen­dent run is on the ta­ble.’

The source said she could raise €50,000 in fund­ing for the cam­paign in a few days such is the level of sup­port she has, adding that she has been re­ceiv­ing hundreds of mes­sages of sup­port fol­low­ing her de­feat in her first elec­tion.

‘She got 45 per cent in the New Ross district – three times the Fine Gael vote what Wil­lie Fitzhar­ris and Bridín Mur­phy got in the Lo­cal Elec­tions.

‘She has name recog­ni­tion. Fine Gael would have to think twice be­fore dump­ing her in these cir­cum­stances where she has proven to be able to get votes. It would be a ret­ro­grade step. They need to de­cide now.

‘ The na­tional ex­ec­u­tive would want to move with cau­tion. All these storms come and go. Ev­ery­body has their mo­ments; it’s no rea­son to dump a can­di­date. What Fine Gael should be do­ing is sup­port­ing her rather than leav­ing her out in the cold.’

MAIN PHOTO: Verona Mur­phy and Min­is­ter for Jus­tice Char­lie Flana­gan ad­dress the me­dia at the count cen­tre in St Joseph’s Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Wex­ford on Satur­day. IN­SET LEFT: new­ly­elected TD Mal­colm Byrne is con­grat­u­lated by Cllr George Lawlor, who fin­ished in sec­ond place. FULL ELEC­TION COV­ER­AGE: SEE PAGES 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 32, 33, 34

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