Verona Murphy and Fine Gael

 

A chara, – The saga of Verona Murphy’s unfolding fate at the hands of her own party, Fine Gael, poses wider questions about freedom of speech, the conduct of elections, and the role of the press.

Yet again we witnessed a career-ending storm (whipped up God knows how and by whom) before which everything was blown away that was not nailed down, including old decision-making processes in political parties, and independent deliberation on the part of the electorate.

Ms Murphy’s own support ran for cover. Then she made an injudicious apology for remarks she believed to be fair. And she lost the election anyway.

After her electoral defeat there were two further tweaks in her official ostracisation.

She was removed from the ticket for future elections, and the Taoiseach was reported as being glad that she lost the election.

There is a big discussion here for Fine Gael itself, specifically around why many people with a Fine Gael background (such as the present writer) find ourselves having nothing in common with the party as it is now.

We need, as a democracy, to visit these periodic storms of public outrage which seem to be the approved method these days for ending careers – careers in the press and in politics.

Might we reasonably expect courageous and independent interventions by the Press Ombudsman and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland?

Both bodies should address the subject of freedom of expression. They should pose the question of who is gaining by these episodes of hysteria, and who ultimately suffers by the trashing the practices and traditions which served our democracy well in the past. – Is mise,

GERALD O’CARROLL,

Dooradoyle,

Limerick.

Sir, – The Taoiseach is glad Verona Murphy wasn’t elected in the recent byelection (“Varadkar ‘glad’ Verona Murphy did not get elected”, News, December 20th).

Knowing she wasn’t a suitable candidate for Dáil Éireann, he still took time from his busy schedule to visit Wexford to campaign for her.

In my opinion, this reflects particularly badly on him. In these very turbulent times, I would expect more from the head of government. A lot more. – Yours, etc,

CHARLIE NEVILLE,

Cork.