Community Economic Activity Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Clonmel Arms re-development must not be subjected to further delays,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he strongly welcomes the decision by Tipperary County Council to grant planning permission for a new 114-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Clonmel Arms Hotel. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the developers were finally given the go-ahead following detailed requirements from An Taisce that the original site design be revisited:

“This is excellent news for Clonmel and the broader regeneration of the town centre. We can only hope at this stage that bodies like An Taisce have had their strict requirements satisfied and they will not return at a later point to throw a further spanner in the works.

In its heyday, the old Clonmel Arms Hotel was a fantastic, centrally located resource for the town.

I have no doubt that the new development will be just as popular and beneficial for the entire town centre area.

Clonmel has had to wait 14 years before this redevelopment eventually got off the ground.

That is far too long. It is also one of the main reasons why work on bringing the site to life and creating much needed employment has to happen as a matter of urgency.

As I say, the last thing we need are bodies like An Taisce or An Bord Pleanala coming back and asking for some relatively minor point to be addressed, especially given the lengthy delays this would cause.

We have gone through an exhaustive re-evaluation and design process. It is time now to get the work done,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

Banks Community Economic Activity Local Issues Social Issues

“Banks should not need a ‘Culture Board’ to tell them what respect and honesty look like.’” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that he is deeply sceptical about the capacity of the newly established Irish Banking Culture Board to affect the kind of attitudinal change and reform that is urgently required. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the launch of the IBCB by its inaugural Chairman, Mr Justice John Hedigan:

“The only logic that Banks understand is that of cold hard cash and looking after the bottom line.

So all their talk about a new found social responsibility and customer focus is absolutely galling to listen to when you are someone, as I am, who has been dealing with the reality of the Banks total indifference to human suffering every day of every week for the last number of years.

We know that this new Culture Board was established on foot of the findings of a Banking Standards Board (BSB) Employee Survey that ran in 2018 and that it was commissioned by the CEOs of five Irish banks (Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, Permanent TSB and Ulster Bank).

That survey revealed the scale of the toxic practices and indeed the toxic mind-set that has become embedded within the Banks operating here.

It sought answers to questions like, how far a bank demonstrated such characteristics as honesty, respect and accountability. In other words; the characteristics that would be expected to be associated with any good culture and fair customer outcomes in banking.

The reality is however that Banks continue to operate according to policies that involve even the ruthless pursuit of long standing customers who have always acted in good faith.

Just last week I and my colleagues, Michael Collins and Carol Nolan had a meeting with KBC. We were informed before the meeting, and on the basis that we would respect this staff member’s anonymity that Senior Bank personnel at KBC are literally laughing at attempts by the Oireachtas to hold them to account.

So forgive me for thinking if this latest attempt to ‘change the culture in our banks’ is little more than highly organised spin; especially when the Central Bank itself is telling us that the IBCB is “not a substitute for effective regulation, assertive supervision and robust enforcement”, concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Economic Activity Local Issues Press Releases

“No plans to review commercial rates despite national collection of €1.3 billion” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


“No plans to review commercial rates despite national collection of €1.3 billion” Mattie McGrath




Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to clarify why his department has failed to conduct a review of the economic impact of local authority rates on small and medium businesses. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister confirmed the absence of the review to him despite acknowledging that the annual rate on valuation (ARV) increased each year from 2016 to 2018:


“We now know that from 2015-2017 local authorities collected over €4 billion in rates nationally, with €1.34 billion of that coming in during 2017 alone.


The latest available figures for Tipperary are from 2016 which show that while €34.1 million in commercial rates were due to be collected, only €26.4 million was actually collected leaving the arrears at €7.7 million.


This should clearly demonstrate that businesses are struggling to pay existing levels of commercial rates, never mind having to deal with year on year increases such as those confirmed by the Minister today.


It is vitally important that Tipperary businesses and SME’s are supported, especially in light of the challenges that Brexit is inevitably going to pose.


The Local Government (Rates) Bill 2018 which includes provisions to allow local authorities to introduce rates alleviation schemes to support local economies will be debated in the Dáil later today.


However, this is a Bill that should have been prioritised well before now given how clear it was clear that local businesses were struggling with increasing rate payments and reduced service provision by the council since 2016 at least,” concluded Deputy McGrath.





Community Economic Activity Local Issues Rural Ireland

Welcome for funding announcement for new Blueway access in Newcastle village – McGrath, Lonergan and Molloy

Welcome for funding announcement for new Blueway access in Newcastle village – McGrath, Lonergan and Molloy

Independent representatives Deputy Mattie McGrath, Mayor Cllr. Richie Molloy and Deputy Mayor Cllr. Martin Lonergan have warmly welcomed the announcement by Minister of State for Community and Rural Development, Michael Ring TD that a further allocation of €156,000 will be allocated towards the River Suir Blueway Canoe Trail which will hopefully directly link Newcastle Village into this important and significant tourism and recreational amenity.

Commenting on the announcement Deputy McGrath stated, The 2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) provides funding for the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as greenways, blueways and other trails. Under the 2018 scheme, applications were invited under three measures and now under  Measure 2 – Medium scale repair/upgrade and development of new small/medium infrastructure (up to €200,000 grant) I am delighted to welcome this funding towards an access point near Newcastle Village.

78 projects to the value of €10.87 million under Measure 2 have now been announced. In total, 97 applications amounting to just over €13.2 million were received in respect of Measure 2. I also want to acknowledge Fáilte Ireland who are co-funding this Measure with the Department to the tune of €3 million euro. I have no doubt that this funding will greatly enhance the Blueway experience and bring Newcastle Village into the heart of that experience, in terms of culture, history and the betterment of the local community.”

Deputy Mayor of Clonmel/Cahir Borough District, Cllr Martin Lonergan added, “As a local authority representative for the area, I am delighted to welcome this announcement. I have always stated that as part of the Blueway Project, the accessibility of all communities along the River Suir was of the utmost of importance, especially Newcastle and Ardfinnan along with other communities along the banks of the Suir. We can now see that from Cahir Town to Carrick on Suir, most Communities will have an access and egress area from the River Suir which will; I would hope, greatly increase activities on the Suir and indeed bring extra footfall into our local communities along the route from Cahir to Ardfinnan, Newcastle, Clonmel and Kilsheelan. I want to thank everyone involved in continuing to develop this important amenity within the Local Authority, both former and current and I have no doubt it will continue to be a major asset to the Borough District.”   

The Mayor of Clonmel/Cahir Borough District, Cllr. Richie Molloy said, “We are now moving into a new era in rebuilding our relationship with the River Suir following the implementation of the Flood Relief Plan in areas such as Cahir, Ardfinnan, Newcastle and Clonmel. Projects that the Local Authority has embarked upon signal a new confidence towards accessibility to the River Suir and the promotion of recreational use of this natural and beautiful amenity. This further funding will promote usage of the river and this has always been the main objective. For a relatively small investment it will bring so much value to the towns and villages involved in the years to come.”


Economic Activity

“Turas Nua may be profiting on the back of forced employment,” Mattie McGrath




Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, to conduct a full scale departmental investigation in to the employment and training policies operated by private companies contracted to operate the States JobPath Schemes. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it emerged that entities like Turas Nua have received almost €80 million in ‘job activation’ fees from the Department, with Seetec receiving an additional  €73.3 million for its training and employment services:


“In May of this year I submitted a Parliamentary Question asking the Minister to confirm that Turas Nua is a private limited company and to provide details of the payments made to Turas Nua in the operation of its contract.


In reply, Minister Doherty confirmed to me that Turas Nua is a joint venture between FRS Recruitment and Working Links and is registered with the Companies Registration Office as Turas Nua Ltd., Registration No: 3344143VH.


She would not however provide me with the individual payments to the JobPath companies as these were considered “commercially sensitive and to do so would place the State at a disadvantage both in terms of the contracts now in place and any future procurement that may be undertaken.”


We now know that this was absolute rubbish because the exact information I demanded 7 months ago was given to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee this week in terms of how much these private companies are actually getting.


All of this is raising alarm bells with me with respect to the level of transparency that should exist where private companies like Turas Nua are receiving tens of millions of euros in fees.


I am therefore calling on the Minister to come clean about the massive profiteering that seems to be going on under the guise of getting people back into ‘suitable employment.’


We know from the massive damage done to the likes of the CE Schemes that this is very far from the reality on the ground,” concluded Deputy McGrath.





Community Economic Activity Local Issues

“Irish Water displaying a billion euro error of judgement on Shannon Pipeline project,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, and the Head of Irish Water, Jerry Grant, to immediately suspend plans to proceed with the controversial €1.2 billion Shannon-Dublin Pipeline Project. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of a two hour Oireachtas briefing on the matter that he has organised to take place tomorrow at 3pm in Leinster House. The briefing will be given by Emma Kennedy of Kennedy Analysis following her appearance before the Joint Committee on Housing and Planning earlier in the morning: 

“I cannot over emphasise the scale of the institutional arrogance that is being displayed by Irish Water in terms of its commitment to proceed with this utterly reckless and wasteful project.

Emma Kennedy has produced several forensic deconstructions of this project that have demonstrably removed any justification for proceeding with it; yet Irish Water and indeed the Minister, have completely failed to engage with these findings.

What is astounding to me is that tomorrow morning I and the other members of the Committee will sit and question Irish Water on the project while at the same time knowing that it is has already made up its mind.

This kind of scrutiny after the fact displays a breath taking disregard not only for hundreds of millions of euros of public monies; but also for the functions of the Oireachtas.

At the very least the Minister and Irish Water should have waited until all of the evidence was thoroughly examined before it rushed to judgement on the advisability of this completely redundant pipeline,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Economic Activity Local Issues Press Releases Transport

“Latest quango on waste tyre collection could threaten up to 1000 jobs,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

“Latest quango on waste tyre collection could threaten up to 1000 jobs,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, to delay the proposed establishment of a new monopoly on waste tyre collection following his decision to introduce the Waste Management (Tyres and Waste Tyres) Regulations 2017. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister confirmed that the new regulatory structures will be funded by a visible Environmental Management Cost (vEMC) of €2.80 per car tyre and €1.50 per motorcycle tyre with effect from 1st October:

“I do not believe that sufficient thought has been given to the impact this is likely to have on the present tyre collection business.

I was informed by the Independent Tyre Wholesalers & Retailers Association (ITWRA) that the move could lead to the elimination of up 1000 jobs in their industry:

The ITWRA is extremely critical of the fact that Minister Naughten has approved what was initially then Minister Alan Kelly’s proposal to select Repak to operate this monopoly scheme. It is estimated that Repak which will take in up to €75m over five years. Meanwhile the ITWRA argue that at present licensed waste collectors are doing the same job for €15m, and without any direct cost to customers.

If these proposals are implemented then it is expected that at least an extra €11 will be added to the price of anyone seeking to buy a new set of tyres. It is in the very nature of these quangos that such costs inevitably rise and rise as the regulatory burden increases.

While Minister Naughten assures us that the vEMC for agricultural tyres will be initially set at zero in the new regulations, he still insists that producers of agricultural tyres will have reporting obligations.

This reporting will then inform the Minister’s decision on the level of fee within twelve months from the introduction of the scheme. No one within the industry believes that this will not result in additional charges of up to €20 per agricultural tyre.

This is to say nothing of the impact these proposals will have on the Irish road haulage industry. Just as it is entering a period of profound instability in terms of Brexit, the haulage industry will now have to contend with an additional layer of reporting bureaucracy and costs that will do nothing but add profit to another government quango,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Economic Activity Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Report proves an alarming 50% of all economic activity now centered in Dublin,” Mattie McGrath 

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the latest statistics from the Eurostat Yearbook as deeply alarming for rural Ireland. The statistics from its 2016 Report demonstrate that over 50% of Ireland’s GDP – the total value of everything produced in the country – is generated in Dublin. This is despite the fact that an estimated 60% of the population live outside Dublin County:

“These figures point yet again to the absurdly disproportionate levels of economic activity that is concentrated in Dublin.

On the one hand it is great news for those living and working there, but it also gives the lie to the idea that the rest of the country will benefit by a booming economy in the capital. This has clearly not come to pass and the rest of the country is being left to stagnate, particularly rural Ireland.

Even the European Commission in Ireland have observed that the figures here are way out of kilter with the majority of other EU capitals.

In fact they go on to point out that since 2004, the shift in economic activities towards Dublin was the second highest in the EU at 5.5 percentage points.

What we are continuing to see therefore is the total absence of any effective plan to redress the massive imbalance that exists between Dublin and the rest of the state.

This has to be addressed not only at government level but also at EU level where consideration might be given to an idea such as making industrial or other types of grants conditional on development in rural Ireland. This would certainly be consistent with the EU’s own agenda of making rural areas viable commercial and industrial centres,” concluded Deputy McGrath.