Wexford byelection: Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne tops poll

Verona Murphy eliminated on fourth count but plans to run in next general election

Malcom Byrne: ‘Racism and the language of hate and division has no place in Wexford politics. Wexford is better than that. Ireland is better than that.’ Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Malcom Byrne: ‘Racism and the language of hate and division has no place in Wexford politics. Wexford is better than that. Ireland is better than that.’ Photograph: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

 

Fianna Fáil councillor Malcolm Byrne has been elected in Wexford following the fifth count.

He was deemed elected with 18,830 votes after the elimination of Labour’s George Lawlor who secured 14,476 votes after sizeable transfers from Sinn Féin and the Green Party.

Fine Gael’s Verona Murphy was eliminated on the fourth count. She said afterwards that she plans to run in next general election.

Speaking after his election, Mr Byrne referenced the controversy which engulfed Fine Gael’s Wexford campaign. Ms Murphy, president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, made a number of comments during the campaign about the Islamic State (ISIS) and immigration.

Wexford Byelection

FULL RESULTS
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan with Fine Gael byelection candidate Verona Murphy at the Wexford count centre. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan with Fine Gael byelection candidate Verona Murphy at the Wexford count centre. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Mr Byrne said on Saturday night: “Racism and the language of hate and division has no place in Wexford politics. Wexford is better than that. Ireland is better than that.”

After his elimination, George Lawlor said his strong result showed that the “Labour party flag is well and truly alive in the constituency of Wexford.”

Ms Murphy indicated that she planned to run in the general election.

“What we do now is build on this for the general election. Of course I am disappointed but at the same time it is my first outing as a politician against some very experienced candidates.”

Asked if she could have won had she not made her comments about immigration, she said that she had apologised.

Asked if she felt she had the backing of the Fine Gael party, she said: “that is all for another day.”