Community Crime Local Issues

“Over-due clamp down on unregistered private security personnel is to be welcomed,” Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins, Carol Nolan.

Independent TD’s Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins and Carol Nolan have said they welcome the decision of the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, to seek Cabinet approval aimed at amending the Private Security Services Act of 2004. The Independent TD’s say they had emphasised the need to introduce strict regulatory guidelines for unregistered security personnel when they met with representative of the Private Security Authority (PSA) in early February:

“We want to warmly welcome this decision by Minister Flanagan, which should finally result in some kind of sanctions for unregistered security personnel who have effectively been operating in a legislative free zone for many years now.

When we met the PSA in February along with Mr Jerry Beades, of the New Land League, we did so because of the flood of complaints we had been receiving from families and ordinary people who had experienced intimidation and persistent aggression from these unregulated operators.

That had to stop.

It is now absolutely clear that the Minister himself has accepted our original position: that the continued absence of strict registration and enforcement guidelines would be totally unacceptable.

The fact that he is now bringing the memo to Cabinet to seek approval also highlights another clear fact: that those people who are currently enforcing court orders were out of control.

At the end of this process, families, farmers and those in mortgage or repossession distress will hopefully be able to access the kind of state protection that should have been in place long before now.

That was our sole objective which thankfully, has now moved one step closer to becoming a reality,” the TD’s concluded.

Community Courts Crime

“Private Security Authority confirm significant weaknesses in governing legislation,” Mattie McGrath, Carol Nolan, Michael Collins

Press Release



Independent TD’s Mattie McGrath, Carol Nolan and Michael Collins have said their meeting with the CEO of the Private Security Authority, Mr Paul Scallan, has given rise to serious concerns about the capacity of the state to effectively sanction unlicensed security personnel. The group had organised the meeting to try and address the apparent lack of sanctions for those who engage in aggressive acts of intimidation while purporting to be linked to licensed security operations:


“This meeting was organised as part of our wider engagement with all stakeholders involved in the repossession of homes or property; specifically how those repossessions are conducted.


Overall we had a very constructive engagement, where significant amounts of detail relating to acts of violence carried out by rogue operators and indeed some licensed operators, was put to the CEO of the PSA by Mr Jerry Beades on behalf of Friends of Banking Ireland.


As elected representatives, our over-riding concern at the meeting was to try and ascertain what we can do at the legislative level to try and strengthen protections for families and communities who experience threats, aggression and even assaults at the hands of those claiming to have legitimate authority. 


It was made absolutely clear that the current provisions of The Private Security Services Act 2004 which is the primary legislation under which the Private Security Authority operates, is grossly inadequate and needs to be urgently revised or amended.


We are aware that the Board of the PSA contains representatives from an Assistant Garda Commissioner as well as the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Justice and Equality.


In light of that it is highly unlikely that government is not aware of the scale of the problem that exists.


What we are calling for is thorough, sector wide public consultation on this issue so that the experiences of families and ordinary people who have experienced intimidation can be fed into any changes that may emerge.


At present, these people are operating as if it is the Wild West and that has to stop. If that includes the PSA being given more sanctioning or investigative powers then so be it” concluded Deputy McGrath.





Community Crime Gardai Local Issues Press Releases

“Dramatic drop in allocation of Probationer Garda in Tipperary,” Mattie McGrath


Press Release


“Dramatic drop in allocation of Probationer Garda in Tipperary,” Mattie McGrath




Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he will be writing to Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, asking him to explain why there has been an almost two thirds reduction in the number of Probationer Garda for Co. Tipperary from 2017-2018.


Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, provided him with the data in reply to a Parliamentary Question on the matter:


“I find it absolutely astonishing that from 2015 to 2018, Tipperary was allocated only 48 Probationer Garda from a total of 2146.


This distribution is entirely inadequate and must be explained. From the numbers provided to me, only 8 Probationer Garda were assigned to Tipperary in 2018, a drop of almost two thirds from the already small base of 21 in 2017.


We know that tackling rural crime is a real and persistent problem within the County given the massive geographical spread that the Gardaí must traverse. That is why we must see a dramatic increase in numbers as a matter of urgency,” concluded Deputy McGrath.






The information requested by the Deputy regarding new recruits as provided by the Garda Commissioner, is available on my Department’s website through the link below.

Courts Crime Dail Debates

“Delight that Elder Abuse Bill is one step closer to becoming law,” Mattie McGrath





Independent TD Mattie McGrath has expressed his delight that a Private Members Bill he initiated to combat instances of the financial abuse of older people has passed through the Dáil and on to Committee stage. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a majority of TD’s voted to support his Vulnerable Persons Bill 2015, 74 to 46 opposed:


“It is my sincere hope that we can further amend this Bill at Committee Stage to give clear and unequivocal assurance to any older person or indeed any vulnerable person who may be the victim of financial abuse.

I have been trying to get the government to support this issue for several years now since I first raised it as a matter of profound urgency in 2015.


Since that time I certainly acknowledge that some advances have been made; but it is my belief that this Bill will provide a renewed emphasis on the importance of keeping this issue in focus.


As I said during the Dáil debate, elder abuse is one of the most serious and vicious activities that can be perpetrated upon vulnerable persons.


It often takes place in great secrecy, hidden even from other close members of the same family who may be unaware of what is taking place.


We know parents want to help their children. They want to be able to assist them where possible, including financially.


The fundamental point at issue here is that such assistance must always be a personal choice, and one that is made free of coercion, manipulation or threats.


Where such a right to financial autonomy and the control of a person’s own finances is under threat, and where it involves brute physical, emotional or psychological pain, the State must become involved to vindicate and protect such rights.


The fact that my Bill has now been referred to the Justice Select Committee means that we are one step closer to making that ambition a reality,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Crime Social Issues

“Government now has the chance to tackle the scourge of elder abuse,” Mattie McGrath 

Independent TD Mattie McGrath is set to call on the government to definitively commit to tackling all forms of financial abuse of adults, specifically those related to the phenomenon of elder abuse. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of a scheduled two hour Dáil debate this coming Thursday on his Vulnerable Persons Bill 2015:

“The primary purpose of my Bill is to protect, on reasonable grounds, the financial autonomy of vulnerable persons, specifically elderly people, who lack the reasonable mental and physical capacity, to guard against such abuse.

While I had hoped that the Bill would have been selected well before now, that was something outside of my control and down to the way PMB’s are chosen in the Oireachtas lottery system.

Having said that; I still think it is still very timely that we are about to have this debate given the persistence of the problem and the often hidden and manipulative manner in which these abuses are carried out.

We know from the most recent data that at least 8000 cases of alleged abuse or neglect of adults were reported to the HSE.

We also know from a Red C survey carried out by the National Safeguarding Committee (NSC) that 16% of people admitted that they knew a vulnerable adult who was close to them that had experienced financial abuse.

The survey also found that 1 in 3 people believe vulnerable adult abuse to be widespread, suggesting the public believe there is a problem around safeguarding those who are limited in their ability to protect themselves.

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.

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 was also 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 was the same period during which there were over 13,000 referrals of such abuse recorded and assessed by Senior Case Workers in the HSE.

We need to know what the government and specifically what the Minister has done to address this gaping deficit in services.

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 government will take on board the provisions outlined in my Vulnerable Persons Bill and wake up to the urgency of this issue once and for all,” 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.

Community Courts Crime Social Issues

“Transport debacle by Prison Service further traumatises mother of 2,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Justice to seek an immediate explanation from the Irish Prison Service as to how a jailed mother of two young girls was left further distraught by being transported to the Four Courts in place of a male prisoner with the same surname. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Yvonne Walsh, who is now completing her second week in prison following her refusal to allow a vulture fund to repossess her family home, was brought to the Court, only to be swiftly hurried back into the prison van when the mistake was noticed:

“What this courageous lady and her family have been put through in the last number of weeks is absolutely appalling.

It demonstrates yet again that the power of the courts and the might of the law are being weaponised by foreign vulture funds who could not care less about the human impact of their actions.

For this latest cruel farce to be imposed on Yvonne Walsh, op top of the emotional trauma of being physically separated from her young family is disgraceful.

I am calling on the Minister to immediately investigate this matter and for an apology to be issued to the Walsh family,” concluded Deputy McGrath.





Crime Pro-Life Social Issues

“Taoiseach’s message is clear: Ministers are free to support those who break the law,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to reconsider his support for the decision of the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to campaign with Amnesty International Ireland, despite the organisations open declaration that it will not comply with an adverse ruling made against it by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO):

“Yesterday I challenged the Taoiseach to accept the manifest impropriety of a Minister actively campaigning with an organisation that has illegally accepted financial support for its abortion campaign.

The Taoiseach, as usual, chose to deflect from the issue and completely avoided engaging with the substance of the matter.

I find it absolutely extraordinary, that regardless of the issue, the Taoiseach still sees absolutely no problem with a key minister fully and publicly aligning himself with those who openly flout the law of the land.

We see at the moment how the government is convulsed in allegations that another senior minister allegedly acted improperly when it came to potentially conferring strategic advantage to a private company.

Here however, we have an open and shut case of a national organisation who have not only broken electoral law, with no intention of amending that situation, and yet the Minister for Health is been given free rein to support them in any way possible.

It is as despicable and transparent an application of political double standards as you are likely to see.

If Simon Harris or the Taoiseach had an ounce of genuine respect for our electoral law they would publicly disassociate themselves from Amnesty Ireland.

At present, by endorsing the Minister’s support of Amnesty, the Taoiseach is effectively denigrating the integrity of the Standards in Public Office Commission, and that is dangerous territory for any political leader ,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Courts Crime Gardai Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Fine Gael led governments have spent €605 million on legal aid since coming to power,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release 06-03-2018

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the amounts provided by government to cover the costs associated with Civil and Criminal Legal Aid as utterly obscene and unjustifiable. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, confirmed to him in a parliamentary reply that over €605 million has been allocated for legal aid since 2011: 

“These numbers are simply astonishing and demonstrate that absolutely nothing is done being done to reduce the outlandish fees being paid to provide this service.

The information I have received show that the costs for criminal aid legal for every year covering the period 2011-2017 ranged from €49 million to €58 million.

This in a time when Garda stations were being closed left right and centre throughout the country and when garda overtime was under constant review and scrutiny.

The average cost per annum during the same period for Civil Legal Aid show that it has never dropped below €30 million. Indeed there is a €9 million increase from the costs in 2011 to those incurred in 2017.

The former Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald promised as far back as September 2016 that the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 was being reviewed and that the Department was preparing new legislation to update the law and introduce powers to secure contributions from defendants, more rigorous means testing and stronger sanctions against abuses.

It is blatantly obvious that none of this has come to pass.

Instead what we are witnessing is the fleecing of the nation’s resources by a criminal element and the absolute abuse of a system that although designed to protect rights is now radically undermining the safety of entire communities,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Crime Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Cancellation of Garda overtime is a reckless and life threatening blunder,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Cancellation of Garda overtime is a reckless and life threatening blunder,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has launched a scathing attack on the decision of the Assistant Garda Commissioner to immediately cancel all Garda overtime with the exception of two Dublin based special operations. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Assistant Commissioner issued a directive to all Chief-Superintendents in the state not to authorise any further overtime on any basis due to budget restrictions: 

“This must be one of the most blatantly reckless and absurd directives ever publicly issued by the Garda authorities.

They have essentially extended an open invitation to the marauding thugs to escalate their vile activities in the certain knowledge that there will be no available gardaí to cover entire areas or districts.

I cannot comprehend the level of blind disregard this represents for the well-being and safety, not only of the general public, but also for the ordinary rank and file members.

Not only must it be immediately rescinded, but the Minister for Justice must find a way of increasing the budget that will authorise overtime when and where it is required.

Make no mistake about it; this Directive sends the clearest signal possible to thugs and gangsters that they can now prey on ordinary decent people at their leisure. It further informs them that the forces of law and order in this state are being held together by a totally inadequate level of budgetary provision.

The Minister must act to countermand this absurd and dangerous Directive,” concluded Deputy McGrath.