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.


Community Housing Local Issues

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

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the latest findings from the 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


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.



Community Housing Local Issues

“PWC Report on Children’s Hospital may as well have been written in fudge,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the review of escalation in costs associated with the National Children’s Hospital project demonstrates a glaring political unwillingness to pursue any kind of meaningful accountability. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Price WaterHouse Cooper (PWC) Report on the cost escalations was finally published:

“This Report, like the site of the National Children’s Hospital itself, will prove to be nothing more than a black hole into which we have poured significant amounts of public money for no good purpose.

The PWC Report is explicitly clear, that of the 9 Organisations it interviewed during the process, not one of them included Connolly for Kids or any of those Senior Clinicians who have campaigned and forensically deconstructed the arguments for St James for years.

There was not a single interview with any of the tens of thousands of families affected.

What is most revealing however is that PWC, in its recommendations says:

“We have considered and agree with recommendations made by Mazars in their reports relating to cost escalation and governance. The recommendations that we have set out below in this report do not replace those.”

So effectively we have paid out €600, 000 plus to find out what we already knew.

In terms of lessons learnt, the PWC Report also recommends what it calls ‘Ownership’ – which they say is a process under which “each risk should be allocated to an individual owner and that risks should not be assigned to bodies or groups of individuals.”

Yet this report does nothing of the kind in terms of holding people accountable or getting them to take ownership.

If we compare this to the scandal engulfing the FAI, where a €100,000 ‘loan’ and poor financial governance has led to the withdrawal of funding, then the selective nature of accountability in this State becomes even more obvious,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Housing Local Issues

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



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.




Community Environment Health Housing Local Issues Social Issues

“Rural Ireland must not be hit in scramble to find cash for Children’s Hospital over-run,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, to clarify what rural projects will be being scaled back or delayed following reports in today’s Irish Independent that his department will be asked to slash its budget in order for government to make up the €100 million funding gap that has emerged following the enormous cost over-runs at the National Children’s Hospital. Deputy McGrath went on to say that this would represent a double betrayal for the children of rural Ireland in light of the well documented challenges that already exist for rural families in terms of accessing the site of the NCH at St. James Hospital:


“It is absolutely unacceptable for the government to even contemplate raiding the budget for projects in rural Ireland in order to cover up its disastrous oversight of the NCH.


We are hearing this morning that funds announced as part of Project Ireland 2040, including the Rural Development Fund, will also be temporarily delayed, in addition to cuts in housing and education.


It is also being reported that the extra €9m allocated to the OPW for flood schemes this year is also likely to be reduced by €3m.


What’s next-abandoning rural broadband in order to cover the blushes of Leo’s Ministers?


Rural Ireland has taken hit after hit in the last six years; not least in the area of health where it remains nearly impossible for us to retain or recruit rural GP’s.


Proportionally speaking, rural Ireland is still playing catch up in terms of the huge economic imbalance between it and the city and county of Dublin where over 50% of Ireland’s GDP – the total value of everything produced in the country – is generated.


This is despite the fact that an estimated 60% of the population live outside Dublin County.


These facts must be taken into consideration before the government takes the budgetary knife to badly needed projects in rural Ireland,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Banks Community Health Housing Local Issues Press Releases

“Occupation of KBC Bank will not end until commitments are received,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


“Occupation of KBC Bank will not end until commitments are received,” Mattie McGrath




Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he is taking part in the occupation of KBC Bank premises in Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, in order to highlight what he has called the distressing and persistent lack of engagement by the bank with customers experiencing mortgage difficulties. Deputy McGrath, along with Deputy Michael Collins and Deputy Carol Nolan have said they will not leave until they have received written assurances from the CEO, Wim Verbraeken, that he will meet with them to discuss their concerns:


“We are taking this drastic action to highlight the appalling treatment that customers in distress are receiving at the hands of KBC Bank.


We must not forget that this is a bank that reported net profit of €33.6 million for Q3 in 2018 alone.


Many of the customers we are dealing with really feel like they are being driven to the brink in terms of the aggressive and relentless debt collection strategies being employed.


These are ordinary people who listen to the reassuring words spoken at Oireachtas Committees and elsewhere by the banks but who know that the reality on the ground is extremely different.


We want absolute guarantees that this disconnect will be addressed and we will be remaining here in occupation until we have that in writing,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Housing Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Hollowing out of vital Council services in South Tipperary continues unabated,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath, to provide immediate clarification regarding the decision to transfer vital Housing Services functions to Nenagh. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he was informed that a recent review of functions within the Housing Department concluded with a decision to reorganise the delivery of a number of Housing Services as part of a process has will be completed by October 2018:

“I am very concerned that what we are witnessing, yet again, is the gradual but steady erosion of services from the south of the county.

As elected representatives we were just told that this was what happening and that the process was already in place.

As and from this week, the Housing Grants Schemes will be administered from the Housing Office, Civic Offices, Nenagh.

This includes the application and processing of the Housing Adaptation Grants for People with a Disability (HGD), Mobility Aids Grants (MAG), Housing Aid for Older People (HOP) and Local Authority Disabled Person’s Grants).

I have been warning for some time that ever since the amalgamation occurred a hollowing out of services in the south has been taking place at an alarmingly consistent rate.

There is little or no clear engagement by the management of the local authority before these things happen and that in itself undermines trust in terms of offering a rationale for the transfer of services that could bring the public along with them.

It was only a fortnight ago that the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) published its survey results of ten local authorities in which it found that Tipperary County Council scored lowest of all ten areas when people were asked to agree with the statement; does your local authority makes a positive contribution to the quality of life in the area.

It is decisions like this latest move to transfer yet more services to Nenagh that will fully justify people in their response to such a question,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Housing Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Massive volume of vacant dwellings in Tipperary demands immediate action,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Mr Joe MacGrath to explain the persistence of a stubbornly high rate of vacant dwellings within the county. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he wrote to the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, urging him to facilitate a meeting with the Chief Executive in the hope that some clarification might be obtained on the matter:

“The Taoiseach and this government are always referring to the problem of supply and how important it is that we address that element of the problem.

Yet an absolute paralysis seems to exist at local authority level when it comes to addressing an already existing supply; that of vacant dwellings.

In Tipperary the Total number of vacant dwellings in 2011 was 4,817, out of a total Housing Stock of 38,390.

That was 12.5% of the total stock.

The latest 2016 indicators from the CSO reveal that out of a total Housing Stock of 38,937 the Vacancy Rate has only gone down to 11.9 per cent

That is less than a 1% drop in over five years; years which as we know have seen the crisis reach epidemic proportions.

If we continued at that rate it would be the year 2073 before the vacancy rate dropped to less than 1% just in Tipperary alone.

That demonstrates an almost total absence of political or local authority will to put vacant dwellings back in to the housing market.

Almost three weeks ago, Minister Murphy himself acknowledged to us in the Dáil that the Repair and Leasing Scheme and the Buy and Renew Scheme which have been developed to assist local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies to address the problem of vacant dwellings was an absolute failure.

He informed us that at the end of 2017, a total of 820 applications for the entire country had been received under the scheme but that only 9 homes had been delivered and tenanted in that time.

If we cannot even manage to get vacant and habitable dwellings up to scratch and back in to the market, what real hope do we have of addressing the massive supply deficit in terms of new builds,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Housing Local Issues

“Government must give a fair hearing to the Fair Mortgage Bill,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed the decision of the Ceann Comhairle’s office to allow the introduction of private members bill aimed at establishing an off-balance sheet National Housing Co-Operative. The Affordable Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill 2018 will be introduced at First Stage in the Dáil today by Fianna Fail’s John McGuinness. It has the backing of Fr Peter McVerry, and The Right2Homes organisation. Commenting on the Bill Deputy McGrath made the following comment:

“The time for piecemeal and clearly ineffective ‘solutions’ to the mortgage crisis is over.

The original form of the Bill was sponsored by myself, Deputy McGuinness and Senator David Norris. Now however, the Bill has been significantly revamped in line with the Standing Orders of the Dáil.

We need a radical approach that will generate significant and sustainable progress in the fastest possible time.

This Bill seeks to allow for the broadening of the mortgage-to-rent rescue model to be available to voluntary, mutual and not-for-profit housing providers.

We know through our analysis and preparation for this Bill, that there are many ethical investors who are truly motivated by a desire to see a resolution to this national emergency.

What has been provided for in this Bill is a structured, legally sound, and ambitious pathway that has the potential to fundamentally reform our approach to mortgage distress and mortgage arrears.

Tens of thousands of families are in stark and urgent need of this kind of ambitious approach, an approach that we are hoping will receive full cross-party and government support,” concluded Deputy McGrath.




Community Housing Local Issues

“Local Authorities must issue moratoriums on Differential Rent increases,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release 19-06-2018

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, to issue a policy directive to all local authorities regarding any scheduled increases to Differential Rent Schemes. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Tipperary County Council merged its 9 separate Differential Rent Schemes into a single unified Differential Rent Scheme, a move that has caused massive local frustration:

“The actions of Tipperary County Council have once again revealed the deeply precarious position that many local authority tenants find themselves in.

Given the scale of the housing crisis and the obvious inability of so many families to meet the increased rent demands, I am calling on Minister Murphy to issue a directive not just to Tipperary County Council, but to all local authorities asking them to place a moratorium on rent increases under the differential rent schemes.

What I am hearing from local councillors is an absolute frustration with these kinds of unilateral decisions that are being taken without any kind of meaningful engagement with them.

Councillors have consistently informed me that they are requested to attend ‘workshops’ on this and other related issues only to find that the decisions have already been taken and that nothing they can say can effectively alter the outcome.

The rent issue is one that we cannot afford to make any worse given the national housing emergency we find ourselves in.

In light of that I hope the Minister will call on the local authority chief executives not to initiate policy changes that will actually make it harder for families to stay in their homes,” concluded Deputy McGrath.