Murphy says he was sacked for backing Simon Coveney

Murphy says he was sacked for backing Simon Coveney
Cork North Central TD Dara Murphy has lost his Junior Minister position. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

SACKED Junior Minister Dara Murphy said there was an anti-Cork element to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's decision to strip him of his role and warned that Brexit negotiations will suffer.

Mr Murphy was axed from his role as Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection when Mr Varadkar announced his new lineup of Junior Ministers yesterday.

The Cork North Central representative said the Taoiseach told him directly that he was removing him for supporting Simon Coveney in the recent Fine Gael leadership race.

"He told me quite clearly that his selection was based on those who supported him. That was the way he put it. I was actually surprised he said it so directly," Dara Murphy told the Evening Echo.

"I also feel there was an anti-Cork element to his decision. Because Cork gave such support for Simon Coveney. I feel it was a factor."

Deputy Murphy has now been stripped of the role he has held for the last three years.

The Cork TD said he also feared there would be a loss of experience in the shake-up by Taoiseach Varadkar.

"I thought it was wrong that the four people who have been responding to Brexit; Enda Kenny, Michael Noonan, Charlie Flanagan and Dara Murphy have all been replaced. I spent nine months building up relationships with European leaders."

"On the hustings, Leo Vardkar said Brexit was one of his priorities but after he was elected he thought something different and clearly put support for himself above that."

Dara Murphy also said his support of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny was a factor in losing his position.

"I spent three years as Enda Kenny's right-hand man. On many occasions that would have put me in direct conflict with those who wanted the Taoiseach out and that, I feel, was also a factor," he said.

Meath TD Helen McAntee has been given the position of European Affairs Minister with Brexit a key part of her role.

Despite losing a Ministerial role in the city, Cork South West gained its first Minister since 1987 after Jim Daly was appointed as Minister of State for Older People and Mental Health.

Mr Daly was one the only Cork TD to outwardly support Mr Varadkar in the leadership race against Simon Coveney.

Speaking to the Evening Echo he said it was too early to outline his intentions for the post as he was yet to meet with Department officials and staff.

“I'm delighted to accept the position. I hope to do it justice and I look forward to the challenge,” he said.

“Obviously there are huge challenges in the whole are of mental health and older people and the whole Department of Health, undoubtedly the largest Department. It will be a very interesting and hopefully rewarding challenge,” he added.

Cork East TD David Stanton has retained his role as Minister of State for Justice, a role he assumed in May of last year.

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