Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy should have stepped away from his post as a TD before now, according to some Cork North Central by-election candidates.
With the by-election just two days away, it’s being reported that Dara Murphy who’s the sitting Fine Gael TD in the constituency, is resigning. However, there has been no official confirmation as yet from the Fine Gael party.
Mr Murphy is currently employed as European People's Party Campaign Director on top of his duties as a TD, and it’s understood he is to take up a new role with the European Commission.
Having confirmed he would not be seeking re-election next time out, and having previously called for a November General Election his departure is no big surprise to candidates running in Friday’s by-election.
However, the timing of the story breaking is unfortunate for the Fine Gael candidate Senator Colm Burke who told The Echo he would not be releasing an official statement on the matter as he “is not going to be dictated to by anyone,” and said he just wants to get on with the campaign.
“I want to focus on the work I’ve done and I’m going forward on my record,” Senator Burke said. He also said that he is “not concerned with the record of any other Cork North Central TD. I want to represent people in the future and not be looking to the past. I want to make sure we have a strong voice in Cork North Central,” he added.
He went on to highlight the work he’s been doing, pushing for a new hospital for the northside of Cork city, and wants to “stop the pussyfooting around” and get the hospital delivered. An announcement is expected this side of Christmas.
Fianna Fáil by-election candidate Pádraig O’Sullivan said that the phrase ‘absentee TD’ has been used frequently in relation to Dara Murphy. “I just don’t think he’s been a good public representative for Cork North Central as is evidenced by his attendance rate in the Dáil. I’ll leave people to decide after that if Fine Gael deserve another TD,” Cllr O’Sullivan said.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Gould said: “I would be very slow to make personal comments of any type, but the point is Dara’s actually been missing, he’s been absent for two years. By right he should have probably stepped aside and let his seat come up in the by-election.
“I believe Dara Murphy and Fine Gael have treated the people of Cork North Central with contempt and is it a wonder when people are saying that they feel the northside has been neglected when you’ve Dara being absent and not even have the decency to step aside and let a seat go out to people who want to work for Cork North Central,” he added.
Meanwhile Labour Councillor John Maher said he doesn't think Dara Murphy's resignation would make any difference. "He hasn’t been doing the work, so until we hear it confirmed I don’t know what to think," he said.
“Until we do hear it confirmed, they (Fine Gael) aren’t doing anyone any favours with denying it or saying nothing,” he added.
He went on to reassure constituents that there would be no need for another by-election.“To fill a seat you have six months from when a person leaves, which is May. I think what it will mean is that the General Election will be a lot sooner than what we think. I could be wrong on that, but that’s what I think,” Cllr Maher said.