Press Releases

“Court intimidation continues in the Taoiseach’s own town,” McGrath



Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach to directly ensure that constitutional protections around free access to the Courts by members of the public are secured and guaranteed. Deputy McGrath made his comments after the morning sitting of Castlebar Court was suspended while it was in the process of hearing pleas around repossession and eviction orders:

“What happened this morning in Castlebar is an affront to the basic and fundamental right of access to the courts by members of the public.

The fact that the Court Registrar then moved the suspended proceedings into another vacant court room where access was granted only after each individual was scrutinised by the Gardaí borders on the reprehensible.

This is a continuation of the policy that I highlighted last October where people enduring the trauma of repossessions and evictions were denied the free and unhindered assistance of people who turn up to support them in their fight to retain the family home.

Last year the Minister for Justice told me that where there were “credible threats to the organisation of courts” and “major security threats” in the administration of justice, such actions were permitted.

Now I ask you, does the saying of the Rosary and peaceful objections to the legality of the proceedings constitute this kind of threat?

It is deeply disturbing that we seem to be casting the ‘security net’ ever wider and wider to encompass any kind of resistance to these eviction orders.

I am calling on the Taoiseach, not only as the head of Government, but also as the TD for that area to immediately assure us that when it comes to these kinds of sittings, access to the Courts will not become the exclusive preserve of the banks legal teams,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Health Press Releases

“This policy is a direct threat to rural health,” McGrath




 Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that Government unwillingness to support rural GP services has now become an active threat to peoples welfare. Deputy McGrath made his comments following confirmation from the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) that up to 32 rural doctor posts remain unfilled:
 “We are at the stage where a combination of Governments policies now constitutes a serious threat to the health of rural areas. Its unwillingness to support the funding of the Rural Practice Allowance for example has prevented doctors who would otherwise love to practice in rural areas from doing so.
It was always understood, for decades, that rural GP’s needed a modest support structure in place to be able to function in those areas and remain viable at a financial level.

That understanding seems to have vanished within the Department of Health. It is simply not good enough to speak of moving supports to well-funded primary care centres in urban areas and neglect rural communities. Apart from the inherent unfairness, when you couple this approach with the on-going threats to rural transport, it all adds up to a very depressing scenario for small communities who would like and deserve their own GP.
The Government is simply not addressing the full impact of its de facto policy of inaction that is undermining rural health.  These numbers we are speaking about today only serve to confirm that view,” concluded Deputy McGrath

Farming Press Releases

“Low Income Farmers added to Tánaiste’s hit-list,” McGrath



Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton must immediately suspend implementation of changes made to the Farm Assist programme. Deputy McGrath made his comments as concern continues to grow that the new regime has emerged without any meaningful consultation with those most directly impacted by the changes:

“The Minister is telling us that these changes are an attempt to bring farm assist into closer alignment with the jobseeker’s allowance scheme’s treatment of self-employed persons.

What we know however, beyond the rhetoric, is that the most recent attempt by her Department to ‘allign’ other welfare payments such as lone parents, has resulted in significantly reduced weekly incomes.

That process was also carried out without meaningful broad engagement and it ignored the concerns of those the Department did engage with.

I would share the concerns of those who feel that the new assessment procedure is incapable of providing the kind of flexibility which is needed when it comes to means testing farm income fairly.

Indeed It is slightly disingenuous of the Minister to insist that any farmer experiencing lower levels of income can ask for a review of their claim since this does nothing to address the fundamentally flawed initial assessment procedure which is where the real difficulty lies.

There is simply no credible way in which the Minister can expect small low income farmers to swallow the line that this new assessment process is in their best interests.

It is far more likely given past experience that this is simply one more method designed to reduce the flow of support to such families under the cover of a progressive Labour policy,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Health Press Releases Pro-Life Uncategorized

“Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care is a milestone event,” McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he will be calling on all members of the Oireachtas to support an initiative being launched at the United Nations to discontinue the use of the phrase ‘incompatible with life’ when referencing unborn children with severe life limiting disabilities. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of a press conference he is attending this morning organised by the advocacy group Every Life Counts. Deputy McGrath will be travelling with the group to Geneva this Wednesday to formally launch the Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care:

“The Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care will seek to discontinue the use of the phrase ‘incompatible with life’ because it is medically meaningless, offensive and dehumanises unborn children with a disability.

For my part I am introducing a Private Members Bill in the Dáil before the end of this month to amend and broaden existing legislation here and which is aimed at regulating for the prohibition of the term, specifically in a medical context.

The Preamble to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that a child “needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth’.

My PMB is certainly in that tradition as well as in the tradition of the campaign spearheaded by then Senator Mary Robinson who worked tirelessly to have such offensive terms as ‘illegitimate child’ discontinued in the 1970’s.

I hope at the very least that the Geneva Declaration will encourage all of us to look more closely at perinatal care options that exist here and in other countries and which would be well worth advocating as an alternative to a policy which proposes abortion as the only option,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Local Issues Press Releases

“Minister Howlin’s negligence has undermined our democracy,” McGrath

Clonmel Town Hall


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he was stunned to hear the Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin publicly describe the abolition of over 80 Town Councils as his single greatest policy regret in over four years of Government. Deputy McGrath made his comments following the remarkable admission by Minister Howlin at the Labour Party conference, comments which were then backed by the current Labour Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly:

“These statements which seem to have been passed over without remark at the national level have exposed a chasm of political indifference at the heart of Government concerning the threat to democratic structures in this State.

Where have the Ministers voices been during this past year and indeed before that when Town Councillors and many others were warning them of the dire impact which the abolition’s would have in terms of facilitating local representation?

It is absurd for this matter to continually go undebated and for it to be relegated to the margins of our political conversation.

I have fully supported the work of Former Local Authority Members Eire (FLAME) who at the time of the so called Local Government Reform Act challenged the constitutionality of the decision to axe the Councils.

I still support that action and would now call on both Ministers to indicate theirs in light of the comments made at the weekend.

Failure to raise this critical matter at the highest levels will clearly demonstrate that the sentiments of Ministers Howlin and Kelly are just one more instance of the pretend concern this Government has when it comes to the erosion of local democracy in this Country.

Minister Howlin admits he took his eye of the ball when all this occurred; well now is the time for him to get back in to the game and fight for the re-emergence of those Town Councils which were so arrogantly dismissed by former Minister Phil Hogan, who in his usual sledgehammer approach left us with havoc at the local level,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Local Issues Press Releases Uncategorized

“Schools now caught in cross-fire between Courts and the Government,” McGrath



Independent TD Mattie McGrath has criticised the decision of the Minister of Education Jan O’Sullivan to press ahead with radical changes to existing schools admissions policy. Deputy McGrath was speaking after accusations that Clonmel’s Christian Brothers High School was guilty of discrimination in its enrolment policy were rejected by the Supreme Court:

“It is a deeply worrying development to hear that the Minister is essentially going to ride rough shod over the ability of a school to determine its own admissions policy.

Both the High Court and the Supreme Court found that the school had no case to answer by refusing to accommodate an enrolment request from a member of the travelling community.

While it must have been very disappointing for the child involved, I would have very serious concerns about the pressure that is going to be placed on schools to effectively surrender their autonomy in this area.

The Minister complains that she has heard no compelling reason why schools should be allowed to reserve a certain portion of their places for past pupils, but this only highlights how woefully out of touch she is.

Many parents rely on the perfectly reasonable expectation that their children can attend the same school that their siblings attend.

This kind of policy facilitates the smooth integration of new students who can be encouraged by the presence of family members in the same school.

It also allows many parents to avoid the stress of commuting to various different schools instead of being able to drop their children off at the one location.

I would urge the Minister to actively engage with parents and schools on this issue instead of ratcheting up the bullying language of Departmental authority,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Press Releases

“Tipperary talent will shine at the Eurovision,” McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has extended his warm best wishes to Tipperary teenager Molly Sterling who has been chosen to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna this May. Deputy McGrath was speaking after 16 year old Molly, originally from Nenagh, was selected following her performance on the Late Late Show’s Eurosong programme at the weekend:

“I want to wish Molly and her family all the very best as she prepares to represent Ireland at the Eurovision in a few months’ time. Her excellent performance and obvious talent made her a very worthy winner on the night. Along with her fellow song writer Greg French I am sure she will do Tipperary and the whole Country proud whatever the outcome,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Press Releases Social Issues

“Property insurers are escalating homelessness crisis,” McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has sharply criticised property insurers who will not provide cover to landlords willing to accept tenants receiving rent allowance. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he had it confirmed that some of the major insurance providers here have an active policy of withholding cover until the landlord finds employed or retired people as tenants:

“This strikes me as bordering on active and completely unjustifiable discrimination.

After contacting the main property insurance companies in the State I was told that the companies underwriters are not prepared at the moment to cover properties that have unemployed tenants.

Is it any wonder then that despite the endless trawl for accommodation there are still desperate people continually coming up against notifications of ‘rent allowance not accepted.’

This puts landlords who are willing to rent to unemployed people in a very onerous position given the fact that if the proceed to allow tenancy they will be massively exposed at the financial level.

Effectively what this means is that landlords who have had no problems with rent allowance tenants are now being penalised for having a social conscience.

In the middle of an enormous catastrophe in social housing and a national crisis in mortgage arrears, this is an aspect of the debate that has been entirely overlooked.

I will be calling on all relevant Ministers, particularly the Minister for the Environment given his tough words at the Labour Party Conference, to immediately intervene in this situation and demand from the Insurance companies and their underwriters a full explanation as to how they can justify such blatant discrimination.

As things stand this a policy that can only contribute to prolonging the unwarranted and ridiculous stigmatisation of families on rent allowance as well as keeping them in unsuitable or impractical accommodation ” concluded Deputy McGrath.