Taoiseach backs Fine Gael for 3 Wexford seats
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar believes that Fine Gael can get three candidates over the line in the next general election.
Despite stating that he doesn't intend on holding a general election this year, launching candidate Verona Murphy's Wexford office, the Taoiseach says that he believes she and both Ministers Paul Kehoe and Michael D'Arcy can all be elected the next time Wexford goes to the polls.
'I know that Verona once elected to the Dáil will be a real addition to the team, both in terms of representing Wexford in the Dáil, but also in terms of strengthening our Fine Gael team here in this constituency and in the South East,' he said, addressing the crowd assembled in The Crown Bar.
'We're hoping to take three seats in the next general election. It's a tall order, but there's a by-election of course before that and one which we need to do well in.'
The Taoiseach spoke of how he first encountered Ms Murphy with the Irish Road Haulage Association when he was Minister for Transport and how they developed a great working relationship.
'She's somebody I was really delighted to learn was willing to join the party and to become a candidate. Verona's a straight talker as you all know; tends to be a little bit blunt; tends to get to the point. I really like that because I'm probably that kind of person too,' he said.
'It gets me into trouble on occasion, maybe I'm too blunt or too unsubtle but I think it can be an asset too in a world where so many politicians speak in riddles.'
Mr Varadkar said that Fine Gael's new candidate was constantly surprising him.
'I've been reading up a bit on Verona in the last couple of days and learned things about her that I didn't know,' he said.
'I did know that she is a self-made woman, a successful businessperson, but what I didn't know is that she left school at the age of 14 or 15 and went back to school at 35 to do her Leaving Cert and after that studied law at night.'
'I think that's an extraordinary story. I think it sets out something that's very close to my heart and something that's very close to Fine Gael values that it is the role of government to make sure that there are opportunities there for everyone.'
'While the government is there to put in place these opportunities, we also need personal responsibility as well. People who will stand up and do these things for themselves. I think Verona is a wonderful example of that and can bring that to politics and the Dáil.'
Ms Murphy was grateful to the Taoiseach for opening her office and said:
'I suppose realistically this is the launch of my campaign. I would very much hope that now that people know my office is open, they will bring me their issues, but my significant issues will be mental health, it will be Rosslare Europort and it will be homelessness. All of those issues will come under my remit when I'm a candidate for either the by-election or the general election.'