Tuesday, November 19, 2019

By Vivienne Clarke

Labour party leader Brendan Howlin has accused Charlie Flanagan of “blurring the lines” between his position as Minister for Justice and as director of elections for Fine Gael.

“Charlie is a decent man, but he has over stepped the mark,” Mr Howlin told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Séan O’Rourke show.

He was commenting on the visit of Wexford Fine Gael general election candidate Verona Murphy to asylum seekers on Monday evening.

Mr Howlin said it was not appropriate for Ms Murphy to “use asylum seekers as a re-education tool, for a Road to Damascus conversion after statements that were just plainly untrue.”

Candidates should know the facts, he added.

Or if they don’t know the full facts, not to peddle misinformation.

Mr Howlin said it was not right to “paint a wrong picture. These people need compassion not demonisation.”

It was unfortunate that people felt they could say “these things” and that there was a notion that they could get political traction “by expressing these populist views.”

He said he was asking all the party leaders to make clear that they would not allow such views in their political parties. Some seemed to think they could gain political capital by making such comments “they need to be called out.”

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