Community Local Issues Rural Ireland Social Issues

“One week until Sports Capital Grant Application process gets under way,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has urged all community and voluntary sporting groups who may wish to apply for support under the annual Sports Capital Funding Programme to be aware that the application process is set to begin next Friday, 7 September. Deputy McGrath went on to say that while the process opens in a week’s time, it will not officially close until 5pm on Friday 19th October, 2018. Any organisation wishing to make an application under the Programme must be registered on OSCaR (Online Sports Capital Register) which can be accessed at:

“We are all aware at community level how important and indeed how challenging it is to maintain sufficient funding levels to keep the show on the road.

That is why it is imperative that all organisations prepare for the opening of the application process next week and get them in in good time in case additional documentation is required.

In 2017 almost 80 sporting groups and organisations in County Tipperary were allocated funding under the Scheme with grants ranging from €3,000 to €91,500 and amounted to almost €2 million.

The Sports Capital Programme grants are absolutely vital for all of our local organisations that are committed to developing sports and physical recreation facilities throughout the county.

We must remember that the majority of these groups and clubs are voluntary and they rely on these grants for the extraordinary work they do in our communities.

Hopefully this year an even greater number of clubs and groups will receive the levels of funding that they require,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Health Local Issues Rural Ireland Social Issues

“New Primary Care Centre must signal new direction for Tipperary’s health infrastructure,” Mattie McGrath 



Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed confirmation that planning permission has finally been granted for the long proposed Primary Care Centre in Cahir town. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the project which was initially announced by Minister for Health, Simon Harris, in July of 2017, will now proceed subject to the completion of 18 conditions: 

“We are all aware of the long and circuitous route that planning permission for this much needed project has taken. That being said, once boots are on the ground and work begins it will be an amazing addition not just for Cahir but for the entire surrounding population in towns like Cashel and Clonmel.

I understand that the proposed facility was set to become operational in the first quarter of 2019. That seems ambitious at this point in time given the number of conditions that are attached to the final go-ahead.

What I want to see emerging from this proposal however is a recognition that the entire local health infrastructure within Tipperary needs to be revamped and up-scaled to allow for far more local appointments across a range of health issues.

We have seen the extraordinary work that was carried out by The Mary Street Medical Centre in Clonmel, which is an excellent health care facility and primary care centre that has been attempting to implement the use of ultrasound diagnostics to help patients receive faster treatment.

Yet in In February of last year, after it was awarded a contract by the HSE to carry out such diagnostics, the contract was withdrawn after a mere eight days.

In light of that we need firm guarantees that the work, both in the new Cahir centre and indeed in existing Primary Care Centres, will be fully resourced and sanctioned in order to allow them to reach their maximum potential with the minimum of HSE bureaucratic interference,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Local Issues Social Issues

“Clonmel Meat Plant fire presents an opportunity for extensive site redevelopment,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the fire at the old Meat Plant in Clonmel has presented the town with a valuable opportunity to re-designate the site for the development of social and affordable housing as well as a community retirement housing initiative. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a blaze ripped through the five acre former site of Fair Oak Foods, formerly known as Clonmel Foods:

“It is a tragedy that this part of the sites history has come to such a brutal end given the many good memories and years of employment that the old Clonmel Foods operation helped bring about.

That being said I think we should now focus on drawing some good from this unfortunate incident and move to immediately acquire the site for the construction and development of various kinds of housing need.

We know that as far back as 2008 Parma Developments submitted a planning application to Clonmel Borough Council to build a luxury hotel on the site as well as retail units.

However, I believe that the needs of the town’s population would be better met at this point if the site was re-designated for residential use and if the ideal location of the property could be maximised for the greatest possible social benefit.

The construction of another retail centre is not what Clonmel Town needs. What it does need is the urgent acquisition and development of houses, both private and social.

I will be organising a meeting in the very near future to try and push this idea through; an idea that I believe would have much wider public support than using the site for a luxury hotel or retail units,” concluded Deputy McGrath.




Community Disability Local Issues Press Releases

Clonmel Borough District’s decision to progress with plans to prevent vehicular access to St. Patrick’s Cemetery is a disgrace,” McGrath.

Clonmel Borough District’s decision to progress with plans to prevent vehicular access to St. Patrick’s Cemetery is a disgrace,” McGrath

The decision by Clonmel Borough District to progress with plans to prevent vehicular access to St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Clonmel has been described as a disgrace and flies in the face of public opinion according to Tipperary Independent TD, Mattie McGrath.  

Commenting on the news Deputy McGrath said, “This issue raised its head back in 2015 and at that time, thanks to a major campaign by members of the community and indeed those who have loved ones interred in St. Patricks, the decision was reversed.  

At that time assurances were also given that the prevention of vehicles entering into the Cemetery would not be revisited.

However, it now seems that the Borough District have decided to use its Executive Function to push through these plans without even giving the locally elected Councillors for the Area a say on the matter. I find this totally outrageous; it displays an abhorrent disregard for the elderly and those with a physical disability who want to be able to visit and pay their respect to their loved ones and is just wrong.

It is unfortunate that, what we see here is the continued erosion of local democracy and decision making. I remain vehemently opposed to these plans as I did in 2015 and have called on the powers that be to reassess the situation as they did in 2015 and to desist implementing this draconian measure on the people of Clonmel and surrounding areas. Our burial grounds are a place of reflection and peace for everyone and should remain accessible by all,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Local Issues Press Releases

“Bullyboy tactics by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may force GP’s to resign from the Illness and Injury Benefit Schemes” McGrath

“Bullyboy tactics by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection may force GP’s to resign from the Illness and Injury Benefit Schemes” McGrath

Independent TD for Tipperary, Mattie McGrath has described as bullyboy tactics efforts by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to introduce new claim forms called “IB1” and a new medical certificate called “MED1” to replace the old MC1 and MC2 forms for certification of the Department’s Illness and Injury Benefit Schemes on General Practitioners.

Commenting on the introduction of the altered schemes Deputy McGrath said;

“Since introducing the new process, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has failed to provide General Practitioners with any more illness certificates which they need and are in fact the only documents that GP’s have a contract for, to provide to their patients.

The Department has unilaterally altered all documentation required for Social Welfare certification, is refusing to issue GP’s with the former MC1 and MC2 forms and as a consequence GP’s will be no longer able to issue certificates from the end of August. This will inevitably cause problems with patient’s payments and cause further strain on vulnerable patients who are in need of these payments to live.

The new measures were introduced without prior consultation with the NAGP representative body of GP’s, gave them only a week’s notice of the change and will introduce a further workload on already stretched practices. I am extremely fearful that it may force individual GP’s who have contracts with the Department, to resign from the Scheme.

This will undoubtedly become a crisis in the coming weeks, and I have called on Minister Regina Doherty to immediately reinstate the former MC1 and MC2 schemes pending further consultation with the GP representative body, the NAGP,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Press Releases

“Dozens of opportunities for Tipperary tourism during this year’s Heritage Week,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has encouraged all those who can to take part in some of the free events that are being organised in County Tipperary to celebrate National Heritage Week which takes place from the 18th to 26th August. Deputy McGrath was speaking as historical, cultural and family days are being planned in towns and villages in order to create a deep and rich appreciation of our national heritage:

“I would encourage everyone who can to go and take the time out to visit one of the many events being organised again this year.

Right across the county heritage themed events will be held in Silverdagh, Portumna, Cabragh, Roscrea, Nenagh, Tipperary Town, Roscrea, Clonmel, Fethard, Lorrha and Dorrha, Cloughjordan, Thurles, Burncourt and Ballyporeen to name but a few.

A full list of the huge number of celebrations is available on the National Heritage website where you will find a county by county breakdown of everything that is being organised.

Within our own county there are over 50 events listed ranging from Walking Tours to Medieval History and Audio displays demonstrating the hidden treasures of the premier county.

The week is a golden opportunity to celebrate the great cultural wealth that still exists right across the Country.

I encourage everyone to go out and support the local events and to make Heritage Week a thriving success for Tipperary,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Courts Crime Social Issues

“20 years on and final resolution still eludes Omagh bomb families,” McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has assured the families and victims of the Omagh bomb massacre of his continued support as they marked the 20th anniversary of the atrocity yesterday (Sunday 12th August).

Deputy McGrath also used the occasion to call on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan to honour commitments Fine Gael gave to the families in 2004:

“I want to salute the courage and determination of the families as they mark yet another year when their unresolved questions about that terrible event went unanswered.
Despite former Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s firm assurances when he was the leader of the opposition in 2004, and despite the continual requests by the families to have a full cross-border inquiry initiated, they are no nearer to that goal today due to the lack of meaningful responses from members of this Government.

In May of 2013 the former Taoiseach made a commitment to me from across the floor of the Dáil, while the families were also in the Dáil Gallery, that he would in due course be happy to meet with the families and their representatives directly. This meeting has yet to occur.

The families are very keen to have it known that the last thing they want is to engage in an adversarial process with the Government.  Their only concern is to work in partnership with both the British and Irish Governments. They are not on a political crusade to damage anyone politically but simply to bring the full disclosure of what happened on that awful day in 1998 into the light of day,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

Environment Farming Local Issues Rural Ireland

McGrath welcomes extension to the deadlines for spreading of fertiliser’s and Slurry

Independent TD for Tipperary, Mattie McGrath has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, TD that an extension to the deadlines for spreading fertiliser and slurry on farms has been granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Commenting on the news Deputy McGrath said, “I have been inundated by members of the farming community asking that the deadlines for the spreading of fertiliser and slurry be extended, particularly due to the ongoing drought conditions and fodder crisis.

I have been asking the Minister on flexibility on an extension to the closed period for spreading of chemical and organic fertilisers, in order to capitalise on autumn grass growth for fodder production.
It is extremely important that we give the farming community and those most affected by the drought and fodder crisis the opportunity to maximise the growing season and to conserve additional fodder as we approach the Autumn and Winter periods.

The deadline has been extended for chemical fertiliser from mid September until the end of September, and the deadline for the application of organic manures from mid October to the end of October.”
Concluding Deputy McGrath added, “While I welcome this announcement, we need to see a practicable, targeted and workable solution to the ongoing fodder crisis from the Minister and his Department including the importation of fodder where necessary to assist farmers who are at crisis point. Imports of fodder will have to have a key role to play in the range of options available.”



Housing Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Hollowing out of vital Council services in South Tipperary continues unabated,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath, to provide immediate clarification regarding the decision to transfer vital Housing Services functions to Nenagh. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he was informed that a recent review of functions within the Housing Department concluded with a decision to reorganise the delivery of a number of Housing Services as part of a process has will be completed by October 2018:

“I am very concerned that what we are witnessing, yet again, is the gradual but steady erosion of services from the south of the county.

As elected representatives we were just told that this was what happening and that the process was already in place.

As and from this week, the Housing Grants Schemes will be administered from the Housing Office, Civic Offices, Nenagh.

This includes the application and processing of the Housing Adaptation Grants for People with a Disability (HGD), Mobility Aids Grants (MAG), Housing Aid for Older People (HOP) and Local Authority Disabled Person’s Grants).

I have been warning for some time that ever since the amalgamation occurred a hollowing out of services in the south has been taking place at an alarmingly consistent rate.

There is little or no clear engagement by the management of the local authority before these things happen and that in itself undermines trust in terms of offering a rationale for the transfer of services that could bring the public along with them.

It was only a fortnight ago that the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) published its survey results of ten local authorities in which it found that Tipperary County Council scored lowest of all ten areas when people were asked to agree with the statement; does your local authority makes a positive contribution to the quality of life in the area.

It is decisions like this latest move to transfer yet more services to Nenagh that will fully justify people in their response to such a question,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Environment Farming Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Rural anger as Hedge-Cutting Regulations will not be in place before 2019,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said there is massive anger and frustration within rural communities over confirmation that regulations permitting the commencement of certain provisions of the Heritage Act will not be in place for at least another year. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed to him that although Section 7 of the Heritage Bill 2016 provides for managed hedge cutting on roadsides and burning these provisions cannot come into force until Regulations are made as provided for under the Heritage Act 2018: 

“To say that there is huge disappointment around this news is an understatement. It was understood by almost everyone involved in this issue that once the Heritage Act 2018 was signed into law, which it was in mid-July, then the provisions allowing for hedge-cutting at the start of this August would be in force.

We now understand that the Minister and her Department had no intention of facilitating this change and have instead told us that it will be at least 2019 before draft regulations are in place.

This demonstrates yet again that Minister Madigan has absolutely zero sense of the urgency surrounding this matter for rural Ireland and indeed for local authorities.

People’s lives are being put at risk for every day in which there is a delay in allowing the cutting of overgrown and dangerous hedges or vegetation.

Some of the roads I have travelled on recently are places where the hedges are almost meeting each other in the middle of the road and where Stop signs are completely obscured.

How the Minister and her officials have utterly failed to grasp that this is an immediate public health risk is beyond me.

The Act has been signed and it must be allowed to be used as a legal basis for rural communities and contractors to get on with the vital work that needs to be done. Further delays are totally unacceptable,” concluded Deputy McGrath.