Farming Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Farmers protest exposes the delays and empty rhetoric around rural commitments,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the protest planned by farmers for later today is a clear indication of the enormous gap that exists between promises and delivery to rural Ireland. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of the protest which is expected to arrive at Merrion Square for 11:00am, with protesters on tractors meeting at 12:00pm:

“Minister Creed must wake up and realise that farmers do not have time to wait around for improved conditions or alleviation from punitive carbon tax increases.

Protestors who are leaving their farms in droves to travel to Dublin today are taking part in an action born out of sheer frustration with the lack of progress on so many issues.

They look at state agencies like Bord Bia and Teagasc and they do not see organisations that understand the gravity of the threats facing farmers.

That is why the protestors have made the root and branch reform of these state agencies one of their demands that needs to be addressed

Increasingly they are also looking at the main farmer representative bodies and asking if they too are really listening.

I and some of my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group have submitted a request for a debate on this issue later today.

We hope that this will be given and that we will finally hear something positive from the Minister. In any event we will be supporting the farmers in their march to Dublin and will be endeavouring to assist them in any way possible,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Rural Ireland Transport

“Irish Rail treatment of Cahir Cub and Scout Group an absolute disgrace,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to seek immediate explanations from the senior management at Irish Rail as to how 35 Cahir school children were left without any proper seating on a pre-booked train journey back from Dublin. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Scout Leaders in Cahir contacted him to express their outrage at the treatment and danger which the children were subjected too:

“This is a disgraceful incident that demands an immediate answer from Irish Rail. As I understand it the Cahir Cub and Scout Group comprising 35 children had to leave Dublin by Irish Rail in a train that was short two carriages.

This meant that the children, who had booked seats were left sitting on the floor and on tables and under tables.

It is simply horrifying to imagine what might have happened in the event of any kind of incident on the line.

These children and indeed the other passengers were exposed to serious levels of danger and that is entirely unacceptable.

The very least Irish Rail should do is offer an full and immediate reimbursement of the cost of the tickets, as well as issue an apology for the conditions the children were forced to travel in.

I will be pursuing this matter at the highest level with Irish Rail and the Minister until this issue has been resolved and assurances are provided that a repeat incident will not take place,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Health Local Issues Social Issues

“Vital that Jigsaw mental health service develop and town and village hubs,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that while he welcomes the government commitment to open a new Jigsaw mental health service in Thurles, it is absolutely vital that outreach hubs are developed on a parallel basis throughout the county. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister of State for Mental Health, Jim Daly, confirmed that the long awaited Jigsaw service will be based in Thurles after years of questions around where it would be situated:

“There are very many people who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively over the last seven years to ensure that a service like Jigsaw would be developed within the county.

This is a very special and positive outcome for them. I myself have worked since at least 2013 to progress this matter forward.

I do want to acknowledge the concerns that are emerging however in terms of the accessibility of the service for the broader county given its location in Thurles which is not well served by public transport networks.

We know that Jigsaw caters specifically for young people between the ages of 12 and 25 who are experiencing difficulties with mental health.

These are the groups who are being particularly affected by the scourge of rampant drug use in the county, so it is vital they have accessible services.

At present we have wonderful groups like C-Saw, Taxi Watch and the River Suir Suicide Watch but we need dedicated resources specifically aimed at addressing mental health in a preventative manner.

This is why I hope that the Jigsaw service can be expanded throughout our towns and villages where there is such an obvious and desperate need,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Roads Rural Ireland

“Culling of Wild Deer population must be considered as lives are now at risk,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Culling of Wild Deer population must be considered as lives are now at risk,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, to consider the initiation of an immediate cull of the wild deer population in County Tipperary. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he confirmed that a number of his constituents have narrowly avoided significant injury after wild deer entered areas where vehicular traffic is present:

“In 2015 the Department of Agriculture, together with the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht, recommended a series of actions on deer management and conservation in a number of areas, including addressing the impact of deer.

It is now clear however that those measures simply have not worked, and lives continue to be put at risk because of the lack of effective containment.

That needs to change as a matter of priority.

I know of one lady who recently had her car totally written off and who was lucky to walk away without serious life changing injuries after her vehicle collided with a wild deer.

I have raised this matter several times with Minister Creed, and he has already accepted that the wild deer population of Ireland has dramatically increased and that they are causing devastating damage to farmland, crops and causing a dangerous hazard on rural and national roads particularly in areas of County Tipperary.

At this point we must start looking at an immediate cull of the deer population because all of the other measures by Teagasc, Coillte and the other state agencies are just not working and the situation remains as dangerous as it ever was,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Housing Local Issues

“South Tipp General among top five hospitals worst affected by trolley crisis,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that he fears for the well-being of staff and the lives of vulnerable patients following confirmation from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) that South Tipperary General Hospital has experienced the fourth highest national level of patients waiting on trolleys in 2019. Deputy McGrath was speaking after an INMO analysis found that the annual number of patients who were without a bed at the national level has so far reached 100,457 with South Tipperary General accounting for 6,040 of those patients:

“The INMO analysis paints a grim and stark picture in terms of the depth and scale of the trolley crisis that is afflicting all major hospitals in every region of the country.

The situation in STGH is particularly alarming given the obvious capacity issues that the building is facing on top of fact that the ED department is being used for inappropriate processing of mental health patients who deserve their own facility.

As I understand it, the INMO have now shown that the number of patients exceeding 100,000 was reached faster this year than in 2018.

This is a clear indication that the Minister and indeed the HSE just cannot get to grips with this problem either at the step down bed level or in terms of staffing for new wards.

So people are only right to feel frustrated and angry when they then hear the Taoiseach say that one of the reasons we have overruns in the health service is down to what he describes as a “recruitment surge rather than the recruitment crisis” and “that extra people are hired every year beyond what is provided for in budgets.”

But where is the evidence that this apparent ‘surge’ in HSE staff is making any kind of meaningful change on the ground? Where is the evidence that all those billions are making patients more comfortable or leading to reduced waiting times or reduced overcrowding?

South Tipperary General is a wonderful facility but it has been experiencing unrelenting pressure for years now and that has to end for the good of patients and frontline staff,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Local Issues Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Rejection of rural-friendly amendments highlights Dublin-centric mindset,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has criticised the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohue, for refusing to accept a number of amendments to the Finance Bill, 2019, that were aimed at introducing alleviating measures for rural dwellers and farm contractors. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a lengthy debate in the Oireachtas Finance Committee which saw the Minister set his face against accepting the vast majority of amendments submitted by opposition TD’s:

“The experience of most of us who attended the Committee was one of unrelenting frustration at the inability or unwillingness of Minister Donohoe to understand the reality of living and working in rural Ireland.

My own amendments specifically sought relief from large conglomerates who are snatching up every available acre of land in rural Ireland and who are pushing small farmers and even entire communities into hardship. Yet it was ruled out of Order because it imposed a charge on these people.

Ordinary people simply cannot compete against the resources of these enormous organisations. It is a pity the Minister could not see that.

I also attempted to have the purchase of marked Gas Oil by a haulier subject to a rebate system that can be claimable against Income Tax Payable; but again the Minister decided against it despite the clear damage this is going to do the Farm Contractors of Ireland.

I also sought to introduce a tax credit that can be claimed whereby travel to work is in excess of 15,000km per annum. This would have specifically assisted all those rural workers who are stuck in long and unavoidable commutes or those who have to use a vehicle of one kind or another for long journeys as part of their work, including transporting animals.

It is absolutely ironic that I had only recently asked the Minister for details on the rural proofing analysis conducted by his Department prior to the publication of measures contained in Budget 2020.

I was assured at that point that a wide ranging analysis was performed.

However, from his performance and attitude yesterday it is clear that the department really forgot to give him the memo,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Farming Local Issues

“Minister must consider reintroducing Weather Related Crop Loss Support Measures,”

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed to urgently consider reintroducing the Weather Related Crop Loss Support Measure Scheme. The Measures, which consisted of targeted crop loss support to assist growers most affected by wet weather harvest conditions, was originally launched in of September 2016. The Scheme closed just one year later:

“No one can be in any doubt that recent and sometimes prolonged periods of heavy rain has threatened the viability of many farm operations.

In fact, when it was launched in 2016 the Minister himself acknowledged that wet weather is particularly problematical for cereal farmers in terms of harvest and yield losses.

The previous Scheme had a very small budget of €1.5 million. This was supposed to provide a financial contribution towards the cost of spring cereals crop losses in excess of 30% by yield, experienced by growers.

Information I have obtained from the Department shows however, that there were just 167 Applicants in 2017, 90 were paid, 60 were rejected, 21 appealed and 4 of these were successful (these are included in the 90).

The other 17 are still outstanding with the Department awaiting requested documentation.

The Minister needs to explore all options in terms of advancing target supports to farmers. That is why I have made this call so that those most affected by the recent rain and wet weather can tap into immediate levels of support to keep them going,” concluded Deputy McGrath.