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Community Health Local Issues Press Releases

“HSE to blame as National Ambulance strike was completely avoidable,” Mattie

“HSE to blame as National Ambulance service was completely avoidable,” Mattie McGrath

 

31-05-2019

 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and the HSE, to immediately intervene in order to avoid any further nationwide strike action being taken by the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra). Deputy McGrath was speaking after Nasra members began a 24 Hour Nationwide stoppage following the continuing refusal of the HSE to grant them the right to have their preferred form of union representation recognised:

 

“As I understand it, Nasra have already conducted six protests since January as part of its campaign for official recognition by the HSE.

 

That was six occasions in which the Minister and the HSE could resolved this matter without the need to have ambulance personnel disrupt vital services as the only recourse open to them.

 

I also understand that the National Ambulance staff were asked to respond to over 34 thousand calls that were put through beyond their scheduled working time in 2018.

 

This demonstrates the enormous strain that the service is under.

 

What is even more concerning is the confirmation from the National Ambulance Service that it has been trial running the conversion of decommissioned vehicles with excessive mileage into vehicles that carry emergency equipment.

 

Surely this gives rise to serious questions about the actual capacity of the ambulance service to function in an effective manner.

 

The question must now be asked around how the HSE and indeed the Minister for Health have allowed the situation to deteriorate to this extent,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

 

 

Categories
ASD Education Local Issues Social Issues

“SNA allocations for Tipperary schools are heading in the wrong direction,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the latest publication by The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) on the number of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts for Co. Tipperary are broadly disappointing, even if some schools have received additional minor increases in SNA hours. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the NCSE released the data for 2019/2020 SNA posts which are due to take effect from this September:

 

“The information provided to me shows that within Co. Tipperary, 36 schools will see some small addition to their SNA posts. However, 73 schools will unfortunately have the exact same provision as they did last year with an alarming 16 schools actually seeing a decrease.

 

I think what this clearly shows is that while there are relatively minor improvements, the pace of SNA allocations is simply not happening fast enough to meet the needs of parents, children and schools.

 

It also shows that the improvement level is either static or decreasing overall.

 

This is a clear indication that Minister McHugh is failing to implement policies that will allow for a far greater recruitment and retention of these vital members of staff.

 

Clearly this is not happening, which in itself is deeply concerning as the former Minister for Education, Richard Bruton and the NCSE had initiated a review of the SNA policy as far back as 2016,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

Categories
Community Local Issues

“Winding down of Jobpath and Turas Nua is a very welcome development,” Mattie McGrath

27-05-2019

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that he welcomes confirmation from The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that referrals to the Jobpath programme will cease at the end of this year. Deputy McGrath was speaking after The Times-Ireland Edition reported that a run-off period “during which employment support will continue, but no additional clients will be referred to JobPath” is to come into effect. It has also been confirmed with the Department that the initial contracts with Seetec and Turas Nua included an option to extend the referral period for another two years, but this is not expected to happen:

 

“I think there are a significant number of people out there will breathe a sigh of relief about this latest development.

 

Many of us have been calling on Regina Doherty, to get rid of this coercive and patronising programme for years.

 

There have been serious problems with referrals to Turas Nua in particular.

 

Only in March I asked Minister Doherty to investigate why the number of social welfare recipients who have had their payments cut or reduced on foot of recommendations by Turas Nua has now exceeded 10.5 thousand.

 

Information supplied to me in a Parliamentary Reply indicated that 6,019 people had their rates cut in 2017, while 4,447 reductions were made in 2018. So far this year a total of 89 payment penalties have been applied:

 

Almost everyone with the exception of Minister Doherty, have acknowledged that there were profound problems with how Turas Nua and indeed Seetec operate their business model.

 

Time and time again it was put to the Minister that Turas Nua in particular was having a devastating impact on the capacity of CE Schemes to find people to keep them going.

 

Those who were previously available for such work and who enjoyed it, were hounded by Turas Nua to engage in alternative forms of employment or face severe financial penalties; this is totally unacceptable.

 

I have had qualified teachers come to me at their wits end because of the aggravation and time wasting they have experienced from Turas Nua. This is not a useful way to spend public money.

 

In February the Minister was defeated by a majority of Dáil members who called for the abolition of the Jobpath Programme and specifically the model operated by Turas Nua.

 

When I put the question to her about how she was going to respect that vote; she indicated to me and the other members present that the Motion was meaningless and would not be acted upon.

 

It now appears she has thought better of that,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

Categories
Uncategorized

“Fine Gael TD should withdraw compensation claim in public interest,” Mattie McGrath

“Fine Gael TD should withdraw compensation claim in public interest,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said it would be highly advisable for Fine Gael TD, Maria Bailey, to drop her claim for compensation against a Dublin Hotel following an alleged incident where injuries were sustained following a fall from a swing. Deputy McGrath was speaking as criticism of Deputy Bailey continues to grow, with suggestions that she is reinforcing the perception that businesses are an easy target for those seeking unjustified financial compensation:

“This is sending out all of the wrong signals and it must be tackled immediately. If the perception is out there that those in positions of political leadership are jumping on the ‘compo culture’ bandwagon then we are in real difficulty.

Businesses and community groups from all over the country are being threatened with exorbitant insurance premiums following spurious claims. This incident will do nothing to reassure them that the issue is being seriously addressed.

The Personal Injuries Commission has confirmed that said that compensation payments for soft tissue injuries like whiplash are 4.4 times higher here than awards to claimants in England or Wales for similar injuries.

That is simply not sustainable.

What is making this even more difficult for the public to swallow is the fact that the solicitors representing Deputy Baily are a firm associated with Minister Josepha Madigan.

This alone adds fuel to the fire in terms of extremely negative public perceptions. It is a PR disaster for government but more importantly it is highly damaging to businesses and community groups throughout the country,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

Categories
Community Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Rural Taxi Service’s still being hammered by rising insurance costs,” Mattie McGrath

21-05-2019

 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to urgently implement the recommendations of the National Transport Authority (NTA) with respect to the provision and support of rural taxi services. Deputy McGrath was speaking after being contacted by a long time local taxi driver who wished to offer a rural based service only to find that the cost of insurance would be over €4000:

 

“The NTA have made it explicitly clear to Minister Ross, that the current local area hackney model  needs to change in order to address the significant barriers that currently exist to the provision of these much needed rural services. A significant part of this is the cost of insurance which can rise to €8000 in some cases.

 

We know that The 2012 Taxi Regulation Review Report recommended the introduction of a local area hackney licence to address transport deficits that would not otherwise be addressed in certain rural areas.

 

We also know that although Regulations permitting the issue of these licences were introduced in December 2013, there has been very low take up.

 

That is large part down to the cost of insurance-but it is also because other aspects of the system need to change.

 

According to The NTA the Minister could take three simple actions that would require no changes to existing legislation but which would dramatically improve the rural taxi network.

First, Minister Ross must simplify the administration involved in the Local Area Hackney application process.

 

Second; the Minister could Pilot a small number of hackney services that will receive grant-aid in areas that have no hackney or taxi service operating currently; and lastly he could Pilot a small number of community transport services that will receive grant-aid in areas that have no hackney or taxi service operating currently.

 

I am therefore calling on Minister Ross to explain why he is delaying the introduction of these measures which would go a long toward addressing rural isolation,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

Categories
Community Health Local Issues Social Issues

Rehab’s work is vital to families and communities-it must be protected,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to listen to the pleas of the families and service users of Rehab who fear that a collapse of the organisations work may take place without additional funding. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of Rehab’s meetings with the Minister and Minister of State for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath, which is due to take place tomorrow:

 

“I have worked in close partnership with the excellent Rehab organisation in Bridgewater House here in Clonmel and Knocklofty and indeed all over the county for many years now.

 

The dedication and commitment of the staff and service users is second to none.

 

To think that all of that and indeed the work of Rehabs 147 services in 117 locations around the country will be threatened due to a funding gap of €2million is incomprehensible.

 

I have written to the Minister requesting that he engage in good faith with Rehab and listen to the concerns that clearly exist.

 

I accept that HIQA has found there needs to be improvements in the organisation national governance structure; but most of the current challenges arise from the escalating cost of providing the kind of care that Rehab engage in.

 

That is something which can be directly tackled by the Minister for Health.

 

It would be a significant and indefensible blow to families and communities if the work of Rehab was to cease at this point especially given the level of dependency that many families have on it for relief and assistance,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

Categories
Community Housing Local Issues

 “Latest Daft.ie Report a scathing assault on failed government housing policy,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the latest findings from the Daft.ie Rental Report as deeply alarming for Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after statistics in the Report confirm that for the 27th quarter in a row, rents have risen nationally, quarter-on-quarter. They also show that for the 13th time in those 27 quarters, rents rose quarter-on-quarter not just on average nationally but in each of the 54 markets analysed in the report:

 

“The average rent in Tipperary has now risen by 10.8% to €832.

 

This will cause huge amounts of anxiety to all those families and individuals who remain dependent on the rental market for a roof over their heads.

 

What is also deeply troubling is the finding that as on May 1st, there were just 2,700 properties available to rent nationwide on daft.ie.

 

This is the lowest ever figure for stock on the market, in a series that goes back to the start of 2006.

 

If ever there was a categorical indictment of government policy; then this is it.

 

It highlights that all of their policies directed toward avoiding enormous rent escalations have been an abysmal failure.

 

The findings for Tipperary are truly frightening.

 

They show that while the average mortgage for 3 bed house is between €458-€580; the average rent for the same property is €762.

 

The average rent for 2 Bed House in Tipperary is now €655. An increase of 8.3% since the last Report.

 

Last week the Dáil declared a Climate Emergency. This Report clearly shows we are in a sustained period of Rental Catastrophe,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

Categories
An Post Community Local Issues Press Releases Rural Ireland

“Minister’s statement on Thurles Post Office full of contradictions”, Mattie McGrath

Press Release

 

08-05-2019

 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the reasons provided by the Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton, as to why he cannot intervene in the decision to move Thurles Post Office from Liberty Square to Thurles Shopping Centre, do not stand up to scrutiny. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister confirmed on Tipp FM that he cannot direct An Post to suspend the move because it is a commercial company and he has no authority to go against its plans:

 

“I think most people who heard the Minister’s remarks will have been struck by how selective and arbitrary they were in terms of what he or the government can or cannot do about this move.

 

Not two minutes before he made his remarks about An Post being a commercial company; he was at pains to try and convince us that the government will protect the public interest when it comes to decisions made by the commercial company who have been awarded the €3 billion National Broadband Plan contract.

 

So on the one hand he is saying; when it comes to An Post, I can do nothing and cannot intervene.

 

While on the other hand he is offering us all kinds of assurances that despite the contract winner for the broadband plan being a commercial company he will ensure safeguards are in place to protect the common good.

 

I also want to make it clear that we are where we are in large part because of the inability or unwillingness of the two government supporting Tipperary TD’s, Deputy Cahill and Deputy Lowry, to effectively hold this Minister to account.

 

Given the support they have offered this government and given the need government has for every single vote in the Dáil; then clearly they could have applied more substantial pressure and they have chosen not to do so,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

 

Categories
Community Health Local Issues

“Clarity on Nursing Home fees welcome but too late for thousands,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed confirmation that greater transparency on how so called ‘Top-Up’ fees are calculated for Nursing Home residents is set to be introduced. Deputy McGrath was speaking as The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) prepares to launch its guidance on legally binding guidelines for contracts of care in nursing homes:

 

“This is a significant and welcome move that should provide families and residents with the kind of protections we have been calling for for some years now.

 

As far back as 2015 I was calling on then Health Minister, Leo Varadkar, to explain to South Tipperary participants why they were paying an average €26000 extra per year to access the Fair Deal Scheme when compared to participants in North Tipperary.

 

So this is not a new problem; where costs that cannot be considered proportionate are being imposed.

 

Families have continually come to me over the years annoyed at the way they feel that their loved ones were being exploited for services that should be considered routine care.

 

Thankfully, and even if it is almost five years later, this government and its regulatory authorities seems to be waking up to the scale of the problem.

 

That being said this new move by the CCPC will do nothing in terms of reimbursing families who may have lost thousands in hidden fees over the course of a family members stay in nursing home care.

 

Addressing that element of the proposals is something we still to work on,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

ENDS

Categories
Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Irish Water confirm construction of a new water treatment plant at Ballylooby,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that Irish Water has confirmed to him that it will begin works in the coming weeks to provide a more secure water supply to 1,900 homes and businesses in South Tipperary with the construction of a water treatment plant at Ballylooby and additional water storage at Kilroe.

 

Deputy McGrath was speaking after Irish Water said the Burncourt River and Ballylooby spring source will be replaced with a water source, which will be capable of supplying 1.3 million litres of water every day to over 1,900 homes as well as agricultural, commercial and industrial enterprises:

 

“Irish Water have made it to clear to me that this work is commencing because the Ballylooby Springs source is vulnerable to flooding and contamination from an adjacent stream and surface water.

 

As I understand it, a contract has been signed with Ward and Burke Construction Limited to carry out the work, which has commenced on site.

 

The project is due to be completed by 2020,” concluded Deputy McGrath.