Battle of Wexford shaping up as trial run for next year’s election

The contest between Verona Murphy and Malcolm Byrne for Mick Wallace’s vacant Dáil seat will serve as a bellwether for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s respective chances of being the main party in the next government

Malcolm Byrne (far left) of Fianna Fáil, canvassing in Campile, Co Wexford Cllr Michael Whelan and local resident Tommy Hayes Picture: Mary Browne

Fine Gael’s Wexford by-election candidate, Verona Murphy, spent much of her canvassing tour of an estate in New Ross last week telling voters that she was “local and vocal”.

She had been buoyed by the announcement of a €5 million grant for the Dunbrody famine ship and the regeneration of New Ross by Minister for Rural Development Michael Ring. His officials insisted that the allocations were decided by an independent committee – but ...