Local Issues Press Releases

“In just four years 599 out of the 765 horses seized in Tipperary had to be put down,” Mattie McGrath 


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to immediately investigate why the total number of horses seized in the state from 2013-2016 reached an extraordinary 14, 454 with 12,088 of the animals having to be euthanised due to severe ill-treatment. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Department of Agriculture made available statistics on the numbers of horses seized county by county during four year period:

“I raised this matter with the Taoiseach today principally due to the clear animal welfare violations that are occurring in Tipperary with regard to sulky racing and the maltreatment of horses by irresponsible owners.

I was shocked to see that of the 129 horses seized in Tipperary in 2016 alone, only 3 were reclaimed by their owners while just 4 were re-homed. The other 122 horses were put down by the department.

It is obvious to anyone who cares to see that the problem is particularly challenging and that it is not being adequately addressed.

Of the 31 Local Authorities surveyed, Tipperary had the fifth highest number of euthanised horses in 2016, exceeded only by Dublin, Kildare and Limerick.

In fact, only 277 of the 2125 horses that were seized by all Local Authorities last year were re-homed.

The fact however that almost 15 thousand horses had to be seized by local Authorities in such a short space of time clearly points to an almost industrial scale problem.

That situation is not being helped by the willingness of the department to return distressed and injured horses to their owners once an animal passport is produced.

The Minister must explain what he is going to do to tackle this very specific problem and in particular how he is going to address the apparent immunity that some groups have when it comes to issues of animal welfare,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Courts Dail Debates Press Releases

“The real threat to judicial reform is government’s open division on the issue,” Mattie McGrath



Independent TD Mattie McGrath has vigorously defended proposals for the reform of how members of the judiciary are appointed, as outlined in The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of a highly significant Dáil debate on what may prove to be some of the most far reaching transformations of the judicial selection process in the history of the state:

“Given the seriousness, and indeed the necessity of the measures being proposed in this Bill, it is vital that the government urgently addresses its own clear divisions on this matter.

The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, has at best displayed a kind of lukewarm enthusiasm and has it seems only reluctantly come round to supporting the provisions of the Bill.

What Minister Shane Ross, who is the driving force behind this Bill, is attempting to do is both politically courageous and long overdue.

The reactions of the judiciary, while cloaked in concerns about the separation of powers and the fittingness of the new process, are ultimately the last gasp of an elite group who for far too long have been self-selecting and self-regulating. That has to change.

The judiciary is not and cannot be immune to revisions and reforms such as those outlined in the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017.

It is patronising in the extreme for some members of the judiciary to suggest that ‘lay people,’ regardless of their qualifications, cannot meaningfully engage in a judicial selection process.

To go further and say that this new appointment process is an active risk to the stability of the different branches of government is totally alarmist.

I accept the challenges that reform represents for any institution that has to undergo it.

That being said, we need this new Bill and this new appointment process set up as quickly as possible in order to safeguard beyond any doubt the genuine independence of the judiciary from actual or perceived undue political interference,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Disability Health Mobility Allowance Motorised Transport Grant Scheme Press Releases

“Taoiseach confirms revised Mobility Transport and Allowance Schemes far from ready,” Mattie McGrath.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister of State for Disabilities Finian McGrath to immediately prioritise government efforts to introduce a revised version of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant Schemes. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, confirmed to him during the Dáil Order of Business yesterday that legislation to reintroduce the Scheme will not be ready by the end of this Dáil session: 

“The Taoiseach has essentially confirmed to me that getting the Motorised Transport Grant Scheme up and going is not a government priority.

I know from separate correspondence I received from Minister Finian McGrath that despite the closure of the Schemes three years ago it is still not possible to provide a date for the commencement of a new scheme.

In November of last year Minister McGrath informed me that the legislation required to introduce the new schemes was still only at draft stage.

Now the Taoiseach has confirmed that almost 7 months on that this is still the case.

This will come as a severe disappointment to all families who have been hit hard since the sudden closure of the Schemes three years ago.

What is extremely frustrating is that the Office of the Ombudsman formally notified the Department of Health about its concerns surrounding the original Schemes as far back as April 2011.

Then in 2013 the then Minister of State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch told the Health Committee that she hoped the required comprehensive review required could be done in a shorter period than six months.

Yet here we are several years later and we are still only at the draft stage for the new policies.

This is not only absolutely outrageous, but it also very clearly speaks to the fact that regardless of what the government is saying, the return of the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grants are not a real priority.

I would once again plead with the Minister to immediately escalate the introduction of new legislation which will allow for the return of both Schemes.

There are thousands of vulnerable individuals who continue to be affected and who have already waited long enough for an appropriate government response,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Dail Debates Press Releases

“Fianna Fail threats to silence smaller Dáil groups is an obvious power grab,” Mattie McGrath 


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has accused the leader of Fianna Fail, Michael Martin, of trying to reintroduce the parliamentary dominance of the two main political parties. Deputy McGrath was speaking as Mr Martin confirmed that he has sought support from incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to severely limit the speaking times of smaller groups like the Rural Independent Group of which he is a member:

“It is my firm belief that any attempt to effectively disqualify the smaller Dáil groups from full participation in parliamentary debates will be seen as a power grab by Fianna Fail.

Deputy Martin simply has to accept that we have moved on from the days when Independents and others were forced to accept the crumbs from the table of the two larger parties when it came to speaking time.

Indeed it is a bit bizarre for Deputy Martin to be highlighting this issue when the majority of his own party are consistently absent from most debates on a Thursday afternoon, when they have ample opportunity to speak.

While I can certainly share his frustration with the amount of Dáil time that is being wasted, specifically by those on the so called ‘hard left’ like Solidarity and PBP; choosing to side line all Dáil groups, including the Rural Independents, is not the solution.

What we need is a far more robust implementation of the agenda that is agreed every week by cross party consensus in the Dáil Business Committee.

If those on the hard left could abandon their petty political posturing for even one day then maybe we would not have the kind of continual disruption to Dáil business that is eating up so much time.

If however Deputy Martin does receive the support of Deputy Varadkar to reverse the new speaking time arrangements, then those like Solidarity and the PBP will have effectively brought this on themselves and they will be in no place to whine about it.

It will just be one more way that they have damaged the credibility of parliamentary procedures for the rest of us who are actually trying to effect real change and real debate,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Press Releases

“Incoming government must address longstanding failures in adult abuse cases,” Mattie McGrath 


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the new leader of Fine Gael and prospective Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to definitively commit to tackling all forms of abuse of adults including elder abuse. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the this morning highlighted shocking figures that show almost 8000 cases of alleged abuse or neglect of adults were reported to the HSE in 2016:

“I am delighted that these figures are finally receiving some kind of attention and welcome the work of the National Safeguarding Committee (NSC) which is starting a nationwide campaign to increase awareness of abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.

In 2016 I appealed to the HSE and the Minister for Health Simon Harris to increase the number of HSE Case Workers assigned to process and combat elder abuse

This followed a Private Members Bill I had submitted in 2015 dealing with the prevention and punishment of Elder Abuse.

Since then I am not aware of any significant increase in resource allocations that would allow us to say that greater inroads have been made in terms of tackling this specific kind of crime.

I am informed by the HSE Head of Operations and Service Improvement Services for Older People that only 31 Senior Case Workers for the Protection of Older People (SCWs) were employed on a Local Health Office area basis the years 2011-2015.

This is clearly not an acceptable level of staff numbers when one considers that from 2007 to 2013 alone there over 13,000 referrals of such abuse recorded and assessed by Senior Case Workers in the HSE. It is generally understood that this number is only the tip of the iceberg.

The elderly are as we know a distinctly vulnerable group. To that extent we must target our legislative and legal resources at shoring up all the defences necessary that will give them greater protection and security of mind.

To that end I can only hope that the new government will take on board the provisions outlined in my Private Members Bill (Vulnerable Persons Bill 2015) and wake up to the urgency of this issue once and for all,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Dail Debates Health Local Issues Press Releases

“9% increase in HSE Managers while South Tipp psychology services suspended,” Mattie McGrath 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that confirmation of the ever expanding number of HSE Managers will lead to significant frustration and anger among parents and service users in County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Irish Independent confirmed that there were 1,445 HSE Managers within the system in 2016 – an 8.9pc increase from 2015:

“These numbers confirm what many of us have been saying for some time; that the HSE is a bloated bureaucracy that is draining significant levels of resources away from patient services. Surely this money could be better used in offering more attractive employment terms to return those nurses who have been forced to emigrate.

What is absolutely galling about this news is that it is occurring on the same day as the HSE confirmed to me that in South Tipperary, school-age disability psychology services are currently suspended due to staffing deficits.

There must be an immediate moratorium placed on the recruitment of managers within the HSE until a full examination is conducted about how and why so many of them are apparently needed.

The Minister for Health and indeed the Head of the HSE now have serious questions to answer in terms how such vast amounts of public money is being ring fenced to cater for a cosy managerial class that are having zero effect on addressing the public need for adequate service provision,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Courts Dail Debates Press Releases

“National Housing Co-Op Bill has the potential to radically resolve mortgage crisis,” Mattie McGrath 


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he will be seeking immediate cross party support for a private members bill aimed at establishing an off-balance sheet National Housing Co-Operative whose sole intention will be keeping families in mortgage distress in their homes. The National Housing Co-Op Bill 2017, which has already been submitted to the office of the Ceann Comhairle by Deputy McGrath and Fianna Fail’s John McGuinness, has the backing of Fr Peter McVerry, and The Right2Homes organisation. Commenting on the Bill Deputy Mattie McGrath made the following comment:

“The time for piecemeal and clearly ineffective ‘solutions’ to the mortgage crisis is over.

We need a radical approach that will generate significant and sustainable progress in the fastest possible time.

The Bill I have submitted seeks to establish a new stand alone entity – The National Housing Co-Operative Society- that will acquire all Principal Dwelling House Loans (PDH’s) and all Buy To Let Residential Loans (BTL) in arrears over 360 days.

We are aware that changes to legislation may be required and that the government may have to seek some flexibility with respect to the existing European Central Bank fiscal rules; but all of this is perfectly achievable if the political will is there.

What we have provided for in this Bill is a structured, legally sound, and ambitious pathway that has the potential to fundamentally reform our approach to mortgage distress and mortgage arrears.

Tens of thousands of families are in stark and urgent need of this kind of ambitious approach, an approach that we are hoping will receive full cross-party support,” concluded Deputy McGrath.





The National Housing Co-Operative Bill 2017

Explanatory Memorandum

The Current Position

A watershed moment in the Distressed Irish Residential Mortgage Crisis, is upon us, for a variety of reasons, with more than one hundred thousand Irish residential mortgages in various levels of arrears.

In excess of 6% of total residential mortgages in Ireland are now in the hands of so-called “Vulture Funds.” Contrary to what we are led to believe, there is no economic, social or moral benefit in having “vulture funds” operating in Ireland and their presence should be discouraged as soon as possible.

As the economy moves through recovery the fact is, this rising tide is simply not lifting all boats. Because of the sheer numbers of citizens affected, the medium to long-term effects cannot be measured in terms of moral and social impacts, although we are seeing increases in reported cases of alcohol/drug abuse, suicide, mental illness and marital/family breakdown.

Every occupant of an Irish Residential Dwelling affected, whether they are a Mortgagor or a Tenant is in the firing line of the stated intentions of the Banks under increasing pressure from the ECB, and the “vulture funds” who will ultimately control these properties.



Legal Changes

Several adjustments to existing legislation are proposed to enhance the ability of Courts to deal with applications of Possession and Sale of property securing default Loans, in a fairer, more transparent way and to eliminate the practice of bundling large numbers of loans into portfolios for sale to “Vulture Funds”, while at the same time ensuring where an order for sale of a property securing a defaulted loan is managed to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved for both the Lender and the Borrower.

Additionally, increased application of relevant EU Law is proposed to ensure existing protections for Borrowers are recognised and considered by the Courts.

The National Housing Co-Operative Society

The National Housing Co-Operative Bill 2017 proposes a potentially all-encompassing solution to the issue of Residential Dwelling Mortgage Arrears regardless of whether the underlying security for such loans is a Family Home or a Buy To Let investment property.

The controversial issues of “Strategic Defaulters” and/or “Moral Hazard” shall be dealt with in detail, and in truth, the real “Moral Hazard” is if we simple do nothing.







So, the proposal contained in this Bill is as follows:

  1. Establish a new standalone Entity – The National Housing Co-Operative Society
  2. Acquire ALL Principal Dwelling House Loans (PDH’s) and ALL Buy To Let Residential Loans (BTL) in arrears over 360 days.
  3. The figures are as follows:Number of accounts: 59,000
  4. Balances outstanding: €13.9 Billion.
  5. (Figures are per Central Bank at 31/12/2016 issued 16/3/2017.)
  6. Purchase Price of Mortgage Book:            These firms would receive the price paid by them to the Banks/Building Societyb). From Banks.
  7. Based on Balances outstanding at 31/12/2016 minus accumulated Bad Debt Provisions advised to Central Bank PRIOR to 31/12/2016 verified on a case by case examination covering all accounts in the specific categories of accounts being acquired. All additional costs incurred and debited against customer accounts to be deducted from sale price.
  8.             with an appropriate adjustment based upon cost of funding and time in existence.
  9. a). From Vulture Funds.
  10. Establishing the money value of the purchase:Number of accounts       Balance O/S      Estimated Written down value @50% Number of accounts       Balance O/S      Estimated written down value@30% Rounded to a purchase cost of                                                                 €5.00 B. FUNDING ARRANGEMENTSAt current available interest rates the cost of borrowing this sum should not exceed 2% fixed.SECURITY FOR THIS PROPERTY BONDNote: Essential as a minimum that the “Buy-In-Values” be achieved in order to provide a margin of security. Hence NO NEGOTIATION over price, unless at a lower value. EFFECT ON BANKS AND VULTURE FUNDS.
  11. Lest there be concern about the impact of this transfer from the Banks and Vulture Fund’s on their respective Balance Sheets the following would apply.
  12. This will allow the Property Bond to stand alone and be without Government Guarantee and thus be Off Balance Sheet.
  13. The borrowings under this arrangement to be secured by a charge over the properties being acquired from Banks and Vulture Funds.
  14. NTMA to be mandated to negotiate on behalf of the Co-Op, but not to underwrite in any way, a Secured Property Bond to raise the total needed through the ECB/EIB with a combination of 15 year and 20-year fixed interest rates.
  16. The final cost of the purchase would be established after examination of figures in Central Bank and the Lending institutions in order to cross check for accuracy of Bad Debt Provision figures. The exercise would be completed on a no profit no extra loss to Banks i.e. neutral in their respective Balance Sheets.
  17. Total:    59K                              €13.9 B.                                                €4.63 B.
  18.             47K                              €11.6 B.                                                €3.48B.
  19. Accounts +24 months
  20.             12K                              €2.3 B.                                                  €1.15 B.
  21. Accounts +12 months
  1. No Profit or Loss to V.F’s. They exit the Irish Market early.
  2. Banks would receive a sum calculated as the lesser of 4 (b) or 5 above.
  3. Banks would not incur new losses because of this exercise.
  4. Neither would they make any profit write-back as a consequence of any rise in property values.
  5. Banks would receive a big profit boost arising from the reduction in the cost of managing 59,000 accounts with all the attendant internal costs being eliminated. The same comment would apply to the mountain of external costs being incurred – Legal/Solicitors costs and expenses etc…
  6. A very significant infusion of new free capital would accrue to the Banks as a result of this sale. It would also assist Banks to come more quickly into accord with new ECB requirements.
  7. The New Capital should be “ring fenced” by Government to require Banks to provide low interest rate funding for New Social & Affordable Houses to be built to relieve the pressure on the lower end of the housing market and other necessary socially desirable projects, which are not the subject of this document.

For No Fault – Defaulters and for Judgment Mortgagors whose homes are about to be repossessed, this Bill rolls out the Mortgage To Rent option on an industrial scale.

The draft Bill clearly describes the legal architecture but, as a legal text, is still a work in progress.









Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin”


Community Farming Health Local Issues Press Releases

“Government defeat is a significant victory for farm families and the self-employed,” Rural Independent Group

Press Release

“Government defeat is a significant victory for farm families and the self-employed,” Rural Independent Group


Members of The Rural Independent Group have expressed their delight after they achieved a successful Dáil vote on the motion they brought forward calling for immediate reform of the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme. The motion, which was carried by 51 votes to 48, represents a highly significant loss for the government and will place increased pressure on it to urgently review the Fair Deal Scheme in line with the submissions made by various farming and self-employed organisations as well as Nursing Home Ireland. Independent TD Mattie McGrath made the following statement after the vote passing the Motion was confirmed:

“Today’s vote on our Motion is enormously significant not only for the farming families and self-employed who have been discriminated against due to the existing terms of the Scheme, but also because it is the first time that the Government has been defeated despite the Fianna Fail party abstaining on the vote.

This demonstrates that the Motion we placed before the House yesterday evening represented a clear pathway toward fundamental reform of the Fair Deal Scheme in line with a more just and equitable assessment method.

Farming families and the self-employed can now be absolutely assured that the Dáil has mandated for a greater degree of certainty and clarity to be introduced with respect to a reduced charge on the farm/ business assets which protects the future viability of the farm/business asset for future generations,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Farming Health Local Issues Press Releases

“Government commitments to reform Fair Deal Scheme must finally be honoured,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Government commitments to reform Fair Deal Scheme must finally be honoured,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that commitments given by the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Helen McEntee, to remove all discriminatory aspects of how the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme is applied to farming families and the self-employed must be kept regardless of any changes in government. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a Dáil debate on a motion brought forward by the Rural Independent Group called for immediate and urgent reform of the how the Scheme currently operates:

“I and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group brought forward this Motion because of the massive levels of uncertainty and anxiety that it is creating for farm families and the self-employed.

We believe that the current financial assessment for the Fair Deal Scheme is not progressive, that it is fundamentally unfair and that it has a disproportionate impact on low income farm families.

What we want to avoid is the dilution of the farm or work assets to such an extent that the farm becomes non-viable for future generations.

During our motion debate Minister McEntee explicitly accepted that the Scheme is indeed discriminatory and that it cannot continue without significant reform.

She has also committed to dealing with this issue in the context of Budget of 2018.

While we believe that the issue should have been addressed long before now, we accept the bona fides of Minister McEntee’s commitment to this issue, a commitment that we want to see ring-fenced and implemented regardless of any leadership changes in the Fine Gael party.

This matter goes to the heart of a sustainable and just rural economy.

Farm families and the self-employed deserve nothing less than complete parity of esteem and fair treatment when it comes to sourcing and financing their nursing home support,” concluded Deputy McGrath.