Verona Murphy criticised in Dáil over RSA ‘interference’

Micheál Martin condemns Fine Gael candidate for contact made with road safety staff

Verona Murphy, the Fine Gael candidate in the upcoming Wexford byelection, is  the president of the Irish Road Haulage Association. File photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Verona Murphy, the Fine Gael candidate in the upcoming Wexford byelection, is the president of the Irish Road Haulage Association. File photograph: Dylan Vaughan

 

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has condemned “interference” by Fine Gael Wexford byelection candidate Verona Murphy in the operation of the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

In the Dáil Mr Martin did not mention Ms Murphy by name but expressed concern at a report in the Business Post about contacts she had with the RSA when she was active as president of the Irish Road Haulage Association.

According to the report, Ms Murphy phoned an RSA transport officer earlier this year while he was involved in a roadside inspection and questioned his interpretation of the law during a conversation, which Mr Martin said lasted about 45 minutes.

He said RSA staff complained that inspectors’ jobs were difficult enough without getting calls like this in the course of their work.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock wrote to Ms Murphy in May this year to warn her against making such direct contact with enforcement personnel.

Asking the Taoiseach if he condemned such “interference”, Mr Martin said time should be set aside for Minister for Transport Shane Ross to discuss the matter in the Dáil and its serious implications.

“This is like somebody ringing a Garda and saying you have no right to give somebody a penalty – you have no right to stop somebody,” he said.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he fully supported the authority, which should enforce the law.

Mr Varadkar said Mr Martin should refer any further questions he had directly to the Minister for Transport as he didn’t have the “full facts” on the issue.