Finian McGrath plays down reports of Independent Alliance rift with Kevin 'Boxer' Moran

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Finian McGrath plays down reports of Independent Alliance rift with Kevin 'Boxer' Moran
Finian McGrath plays down reports of Independent Alliance rift with Kevin 'Boxer' Moran

Independent Alliance Minister Finian McGrath has insisted Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has not left the grouping, saying they all run as independents.

Mr McGrath sought to deny reports that Mr Moran had withdrawn from the alliance amid a row with Transport Minister Shane Ross.

Speaking on Shannonside FM, Mr Moran said that for the purposes of the election, he will not be running under the collective grouping but may form an alliance after the election, if he is returned to the Dáil.

Mr McGrath said he is “50:50” as to whether he will stand again and it is expected that junior minister John Halligan will announce his intention to retire in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Independent TD Michael Harty announced that he will not be standing in the forthcoming general election.

Dr Harty, a GP who was elected for the first time in 2016, has served as chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee. He said he is not standing for “personal and professional reasons”.

Dr Harty had supported the Government for up to two years but withdrew his votes amid criticism of the failure of Minister Simon Harris to deliver the Slaintecare reform of the health services.

In a statement, the TD said: “I am announcing today, January 13, 2020 that I am not putting my name forward as a candidate in the upcoming general election for personal and professional reasons.”

He said he had a choice to either seek to keep his promise to his local community in fulfilling his duties as a GP or to continue in politics and ultimately decided to proritise the former.

Meanwhile, former Fine Gael by-election candidate Verona Murphy is to announce today that she will run as an Independent candidate in Wexford in the upcoming election.

Ms Murphy said last month that she was “taking time out” over the Christmas and new year period, to consider her options ahead of the imminent announcement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the exact date of when the nation will go to the polls.

Sources close to Ms Murphy are indicating that the IRHA president has “still to finally decide” her next move but will make her decision known ”for sure on Tuesday”, but it is expected she will stand.

She has not been active on social media since December 20 but her official Facebook page declares her as a Dáil candidate.

In December, Ms Murphy told South East radio she was “silenced” by the Fine Gael party as a result of controversial remarks in which she claimed that asylum seekers as young as three may have been “infiltrated” by Islamic State (IS) and need to be “deprogrammed”.

The Taoiseach previously said he decided to drop Ms Murphy as an election candidate as her apology over her comments about migrants “wasn’t sincere” and that he was “glad” she wasn’t elected.

The Labour Party also confirmed that Councillor Duncan Smith who contested the recent by-election will be the Labour Party candidate for Dublin Fingal.

As there is insufficient time for a selection convention process under Party rules, his candidature will be approved under Article 12.6 of the Labour Party Constitution when the Dáil is dissolved.

Source: Full Feed