Categories
Community Health Local Issues

“History will not forgive this second betrayal on National Children’s Hospital,” Mattie McGrath

28-03-2019

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the decision by government and the major political parties including Fianna Fail, Labour and Sinn Fein, not to support a motion calling for an independent investigation into a possible site transfer for the National Children’s Hospital will come to be seen as a tragic and wholly avoidable scandal.

Deputy McGrath was speaking after a Motion he brought forward along with members of the Rural Independent Group and several other Independent TD’s, such as Carol Nolan, Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, was defeated earlier today by 113 votes to 19.

“When we in the Rural Independent Group brought forward our original motion in 2017 calling for a transfer of the NCH to a green-filed site at Connolly, we were deeply saddened to see it defeated.

However given all that has come to pass in the intervening years, and given the national scandal that has emerged with respect to the billions of euros it will now cost to deliver it, we thought the major political parties would see sense and call a halt to this madness.

Unfortunately we, and more importantly the families, clinicians and sick children who have tirelessly advocated for change have now been ignored for a second time.

It is simply incomprehensible that so many TD’s from rural counties, like Deputy Alan Kelly’s Labour Party, chose to throw their weight behind this ill-conceived and bloated government project which will do nothing to address the capacity of sick children in rural Ireland to swiftly access vitally needed services.

Those TD’s who chose to vote against our Motion today will be running for cover in a few years when the scandal of building in a heavily congested and absurdly unsuitable location becomes painfully obvious, ” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

Categories
Community Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland Transport

“If Rates Payers were customers, Tipp Co. Council would be out of business,” Mattie McGrath

28-03-2019

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on Tipperary County Council to urgently consider the introduction of extended working hours in order to complete The N24 Davitt Street Road Improvement Contract in Tipperary Town. Deputy McGrath was speaking as significant frustration continues to mount among local businesses and rates payers concerning the slow progress of the works:

“I am being contacted on a daily basis by business owners who are objecting to the slow progress of the works.

The contract was initially signed on the 5th November 2018 and it is expected to run for at least eight months.

That is way too long in terms of the adverse impact on local trade. We need to consider extended working hours, including the extension of works to the weekend to get this project finished in as expeditious a manner as possible.

Just yesterday we heard that the extensive roadworks on the Thurles approach road at Knockalton in Nenagh will be finished ahead of schedule.

We need the same commitment here.

What local businesses are telling me is that if they treated their customers the way Tipperary County Council treat their rates payers, then they would be out of business,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

Categories
Housing Local Issues

“Council must explain how Traveller accommodation is almost three times Tipperary average,”

27-03-2019

 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on Tipperary County Council to clarify how the cost for each of the individual houses earmarked for Traveller Accommodation at Cabragh Bridge in Thurles appears to be far in excess of the average house price in the county. Deputy McGrath was speaking as frustration continues to mount regarding the €2.228 million cost ‘to date’ of the controversial development and which has been idle for some time now:

 

“We are being told that the six houses in Cabragh have incurred costs of almost €2.3 million ‘to date.’

 

That works out at €371,444 per house.

 

Let us contrast this with the price of the average three-bed semi in Tipperary, which already rose by 7.2% to €151,375 in the last 12 months.

 

That highlights in very stark terms the massive costs associated with these houses which are now empty and with little or no sign of dispute resolution occurring.

 

The average three-bed semi in Nenagh now costs €147,500 (+1.4% in 2017), Clonmel €167,000 (+4.4%), Newport €151,000 (+4.1%) and Roscrea €140,000 (+16.7%).

 

Again, these figures demonstrate that there are serous questions to be asked why the cost of this Traveller Accommodation development generated costs that are practically multiples of the average three bed house in the county.

 

The Council has serious questions to answer on this issue which is generating enormous resentment among those waiting 5 or ten years for houses and who would willingly accept a home without a list of special preconditions attaching,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

 

Categories
Community Local Issues Rural Ireland

McGrath welcomes funding for three Tipperary Schools

Independent TD for Tipperary, Mattie McGrath has welcomed the announcement by the Department of Education of further approval for additional accommodation and emergency works in three Tipperary Schools.
Powerstown National School in Clonmel has been approved for two mainstream classrooms including and ensuite toilet along with a WC for assisted users, a SET Room and one and 1x 80m2 Mainstream, 2x 15m2 SET room Pre fab replacement.

Ballydrehid National School, Cahir has been approved for a mainstream classroom including an ensuite toilet and a WC for Assisted Users along with a 1x 15m2 SET room!
Thurles CBS receives approval for an External Environment Project.

Commenting Deputy McGrath added, “If not done so already, the School Building Unit of the Department will shortly issue a detailed letter on the relevant projects directly to the school authority. The Department does not provide details of the funding amounts as this could influence the tendering process.

I hope and I am sure that this additional funding will greatly enhance the educational development of pupils, enhance the schools environment especially to cater for the needs of all pupils and overall make the learning environment a better place. It is important that we continue to ensure that our children are being educated in modern, state of the art facilities that are fit for purpose and meet the needs of the reforms that are been made to the curriculum that is being taught. I will continue to impress on Government that we have to give schools more certainty over the additional minor works and summer works grants they receive and better lead in times to make it easier for school communities to plan for their futures.”

Please see the Tipperary schools approved for additional accommodation and emergency works.

Additional Accommodation
17779P Powerstown NS, Clonmel 2x 80m2 Mainstream Classroom inc ensuite toilet,
1x 10.5 WC for Assisted Users,1x 15m2 SET room
& 1x 80m2 Mainstream, 2x 15m2 SET room Pre fab
replacement

10533R Ballydrehid NS, Cahir 1x 80m2 Mainstream Classroom inc ensuite toilet,
1x 10.5 WC for Assisted Users & 1x 15m2 SET room

Emergency Works
65450W Thurles CBS External Environment Project

Categories
Health Local Issues

“Latest Children’s Hospital resignation only deepens the fiasco,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he welcomes the decision by the Chief Engineer of the National children’s Hospital to resign from his post. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Mr John Pollock, who has overseen the development of the site as Project director from its inception announced that he was stepping down from the role:

“All I can say is that this is one tendering that Mr Pollock appears to have gotten right.

In January I called on Minister Harris to use his discretion under The Code of Governance Manual for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, and sack the entire Board.

The Code itself is absolutely clear: ‘The Board shall be accountable to the body public and the Minister (through the Department of Health), for its activities, its stewardship of public funds and the extent to which key deliverables and objectives have been met.”

Unfortunately Minister Harris failed to take the necessary action.

Instead he has created a situation whereby we are effectively witnessing a delayed mass resignation process; adding further disarray to the entire project.

As I understand it this is the fifth resignation from the Board.

What is galling to read however are the allusions Mr Pollock makes in his resignation statement to significant milestones being achieved and the operation of a “rigorous” procurement process for constructing the building.”

This is exactly and precisely what did not happen. Mr Pollock assured us all in 2014 that the Hospital would up and running by end of 2018.

Now he expects us to believe that it will be open by 2023. This is completely farcical.

The problem here is not the resignation but the incredible persistence in repeating absolute nonsense about how well the project is going, as can be seen in Mr Pollock’s statement and the NCHDB reaction to that statement.

The government must conduct an immediate independent investigation in order to assess the viability of re-tendering at a green-field site,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END

Categories
Community Health Local Issues Press Releases

“Latest Children’s Hospital resignation only deepens the fiasco,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Latest Children’s Hospital resignation only deepens the fiasco,” Mattie McGrath

20-03-2019

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he welcomes the decision by the Chief Engineer of the National children’s Hospital to resign from his post. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Mr John Pollock, who has overseen the development of the site as Project director from its inception announced that he was stepping down from the role:

“All I can say is that this is one tendering that Mr Pollock appears to have gotten right.

In January I called on Minister Harris to use his discretion under The Code of Governance Manual for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, and sack the entire Board.

The Code itself is absolutely clear: ‘The Board shall be accountable to the body public and the Minister (through the Department of Health), for its activities, its stewardship of public funds and the extent to which key deliverables and objectives have been met.”

Unfortunately Minister Harris failed to take the necessary action.

Instead he has created a situation whereby we are effectively witnessing a delayed mass resignation process; adding further disarray to the entire project.

As I understand it this is the fifth resignation from the Board.

What is galling to read however are the allusions Mr Pollock makes in his resignation statement to significant milestones being achieved and the operation of a “rigorous” procurement process for constructing the building.”

This is exactly and precisely what did not happen. Mr Pollock assured us all in 2014 that the Hospital would up and running by end of 2018.

Now he expects us to believe that it will be open by 2023. This is completely farcical.

The problem here is not the resignation but the incredible persistence in repeating absolute nonsense about how well the project is going, as can be seen in Mr Pollock’s statement and the NCHDB reaction to that statement.

The government must conduct an immediate independent investigation in order to assess the viability of re-tendering at a green-field site,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END

Categories
Community Local Issues Press Releases

“Tipperary set to receive almost €700,000 under Community Services Programme,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Tipperary set to receive almost €700,000 under Community Services Programme,” Mattie McGrath

19-03-2019

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has warmly welcomed the announcement that 10 community based enterprises in Co. Tipperary are set to receive grants totalling €682,000. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the grant awards were announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, under The Community Services Programme (CSP):

“I am absolutely delighted that the magnificent work being done by these Tipperary enterprises has been acknowledged and that further support is now being given.

Among those who will be receiving grant support are Cahir Developments Association Company which is set to receive €43,232.

Cahir Park A.F.C. (Development) Company will receive €92,399, while the Millennium Family Resource Centre Company has been granted €72,266.

Other recipients include the Sliabh-Ardagh Rural Development Company (€40,266), Tipperary Mid-West Radio Co-Operative Society Limited (€92,399) and Tipperary Technology Park Company (€72,266).

This kind of support is very welcome, especially given that the CSP is designed to support community companies and co-operatives to deliver local social, economic and environmental services that tackle disadvantage.

We need far more of this kind of grant distribution for projects in rural Ireland in order to address the historical legacy of severe underinvestment by this government and the previous government in the regions,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

Community Services Programme
The CSP supports community-based organisations delivering vital services through a social enterprise model.
CSP supports organisations to meet local service gaps and provide access to services and facilities that would otherwise generally be unavailable.
Eligible organisations are supported under three strands:
Strand 1 – Community Halls and Facilities
Strand 2 – Community Services for Disadvantaged Communities
Strand 3 – Community Organisations Employing People Distant from the Labour Market.
Ballingarry (Thurles) Community Development Company Tipperary €108,132
Cahir Developments Association Company Tipperary €43,232
Cahir Park A.F.C. (Development) Company Tipperary €92,399
Development Association (Newport) Company Tipperary €28,550
Millennium Family Resource Centre Company Tipperary €72,266
Nenagh Arts Centre Company Tipperary €112,532
NIPARC Company Tipperary €19,033
Sliabh-Ardagh Rural Development Company Tipperary €40,266
Tipperary Mid-West Radio Co-Operative Society Limited Tipperary €92,399
Tipperary Technology Park Company Tipperary €72,266

Categories
Community Health Local Issues Press Releases

“Hypocrisy and contradictions galore during Children’s Hospital debate,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

 

“Hypocrisy and contradictions galore during Children’s Hospital debate,” Mattie McGrath

 

13-03-2019

 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he is bitterly disappointed at the decision of both Fianna Fail and the Labour Party not to support a Motion calling for the suspension of works at the National Children’s Hospital at St James pending the outcome of an Independent Investigation. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he and members of the Rural Independent Group along with several other Independent deputies sought support for their Private Members Motion on the issue:

 

“Last night, all the members of the Dáil had an opportunity to re-evaluate their support for the location of the NCH at St James’ in light of the catastrophic cost over-runs and ongoing access issues.

 

I am sorry to say that instead of doing that, they chose to support this government in its absolutely bewildering decision to proceed at this disastrous site.

 

We had the Health Spokesperson for Fianna Fail, Deputy Stephen Donnelly openly accept that at €1.7 billion, the Irish people are paying several times more per bed than the most expensive hospitals anywhere in the world.

 

In addition to that he also accepted that the two most expensive hospitals ever built, in Adelaide and Stockholm, came in at €1.8 million and €1.6 million per hospital bed.

 

The national children’s hospital, coming in at €3.6 million per hospital bed, is therefore more than twice that of the most expensive hospitals ever built.

 

Yet despite this he then turned around and actively supported the government decision to proceed on the unsubstantiated basis that it might take “ten years” for the greenfield site location to get up and going.

 

Not only was this utterly bizarre and nonsensical-it was a perfect illustration of the two faced approach to this issue that has dominated the Fianna Fail position.

 

Labour were no better. Deputy Alan Kelly accepted the whole process was an unmitigated farce and yet he too rowed in behind Minister Harris and the government. The hypocrisy is rank.

 

It was also pointed out during the debate that the very PWC Report into the cost overruns, estimated at €450,000 is now going to be approx €600,000 or more when the 23% vat rate and expenses are added in.

 

Those who lost most from this debate are of course the families and children of the state who will have to live with this monumental failure of political courage for decades to come,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

END

Categories
Health Local Issues Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Government must pause, listen and reconsider Children’s Hospital site location,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the government is being presented with a golden opportunity to rescue the National Children’s Hospital project from a decade of intractable location and access problems.

Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of the Dáil debate on a Motion being brought forward by members of the Rural Independent Group and other independent TD’s and which is calling for an immediate suspension of works at the St James Hospital site:

 

“Our Motion is making two very clear requests: the first is to immediately suspend construction of the National Children’s Hospital at the St James’s Hospital site pending the outcome of a time-limited independent investigation to assess the viability, cost and efficacy of re-tendering the project and transferring its location to a greenfield site with the capacity to include the co-location of a maternity hospital

 

The second is to utilise any site preparation work already started at St. James’s Hospital to develop a satellite children’s urgent care centre, further adult services or any other services deemed most appropriate in the event that a recommendation for relocation is made following the outcome of the independent investigation.

 

As challenging as it is, this government must introduce some kind of political humility into the debate and admit that the St James’ site always has been and always will be, the wrong site.

 

The capacity issues are already absolutely clear and they will not get better with time. The government and Minister Harris’ ignored the warnings offered in our first Motion on this issue in 2017.

 

They now have an opportunity to rectify that tragic mistake and demonstrate that their only real concern is to deliver the optimal outcomes for the sickest children in this country,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

The Motion will be debated at approx 8pm this evening and is being signed by: Mattie McGrath,

Michael Collins, Michael J. Healy-Rae, Noel Grealish, Mick Wallace, Clare Daly,

Peter Fitzpatrick, Carol Nolan, Seamus Healy, Michael Fitzmaurice, Danny Healy-Rae.

 

Categories
Farming Local Issues Rural Ireland Transport

 “Minister undermines commitment to effective hedgerow cutting regulations,” Mattie McGrath

07-03-2019

 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said there will be significant anger and frustration within rural communities following confirmation that regulations permitting the implementation of certain provisions of the Heritage Act are to be weakened. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, confirmed to him in a Parliamentary Reply that although extensions of managed hedge cutting on roadsides are to be allowed on a trial basis, they will only permit cutting of the current year’s growth:

 

“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 of last year, then the provisions allowing for hedge-cutting at the start of this August would be in force.

 

We now understand that the Minister will only permit the bare minimum of cutting which totally undermines the actual effectiveness of the “extension.”

 

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 Minister and the Department now seem to be sanctioning only the kind of trimming that could be easily done with a pair of garden shears.  Clearly this is not what is required or what was sought by farming organisations.

 

As usual it is the government giving the appearance of action when in reality nothing helpful is being done.

 

What is often required is permission to bring about a significant reduction in hedgerow size given the dangers that they can represent.

 

It is truly ridiculous that the Minister now seems to be categorically ruling that out,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

END