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.


Local Issues Roads

“Rejection of graduated speeding fines a rare victory for common sense,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed news that the Minister for Justice is set to oppose plans by the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to introduce a system of speeding penalties that would increase in proportion to how much a motorist was found to be in excess of the designated speed limit. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was reported that Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that he is not in favour of mandatory sanctions because of potential for “unintended consequences”. Minister Flanagan is also reported as saying that he will oppose plans to fine motorists caught without their driving licence:

“When this idea was first flagged by Minister Ross last December, most people with an ounce of common sense could see that it would ultimately prove to be disproportionate and grossly unfair.

Unfortunately, and for some considerable time now, Minister Ross appears to have lost contact with any sense of fairness for the ordinary motorist.

I am happy to see that the Minister for Justice is now set to oppose these proposals. I am also glad to see that the gardai and indeed the judiciary, will be able of maintain an element of discretion when it comes to producing or failing to produce a driving licence.

This was yet another unworkable brain child of Minister Ross that was just far too inflexible and rigid.

What is also important is that we can now avoid a situation arising where the publics relationship with the Gardaí might have been undermined.

If the Gardai were going to be forced to implement these ill-judged fines, then there is no doubt that would have been a very regressive step.

It would not surprise me in the least therefore if the Gardai themselves had made known to the Minister for Justice their dissatisfaction with the proposed speeding and licence penalties,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Work on Clonbeg Bridge to be delayed until at least 2020,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said there is significant disappointment at the news that works on the Clonbeg Bridge in Aherlow are being held back until at least 2020. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Tipperary County Council District Engineer confirmed that the consultant engineering firm appointed by Tipperary County Council to provide the design of the replacement bridge at the Clonbeg site has confirmed a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) was required for the works before it could proceed:

“We know that the Department of Transport recently allocated €235,000 towards the replacement of Clonbeg Bridge. It was hoped that this would have allowed the works to begin this month.

It is now the case however that an application to An Board Pleanala is being required.

Under section 177AE of the Planning and Development Act 2000, an application of this kind means it is similar to other planning applications in that a planning notice must be published in the print media and a site notice erected.

The plans will go on public display and statutory bodies need to be notified.

As I understand it; in the coming weeks a planning application will be submitted to An Bord Pleanala, however it is currently taking up to six months for An Bord Pleanala to provide a decision on applications.

The District Engineer has concluded therefore that it will be at least 2020 before the Clonbeg Bridge works are even started,” said Deputy McGrath.


Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Irish Water confirm construction of a new water treatment plant at Ballylooby,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that Irish Water has confirmed to him that it will begin works in the coming weeks to provide a more secure water supply to 1,900 homes and businesses in South Tipperary with the construction of a water treatment plant at Ballylooby and additional water storage at Kilroe.


Deputy McGrath was speaking after Irish Water said the Burncourt River and Ballylooby spring source will be replaced with a water source, which will be capable of supplying 1.3 million litres of water every day to over 1,900 homes as well as agricultural, commercial and industrial enterprises:


“Irish Water have made it to clear to me that this work is commencing because the Ballylooby Springs source is vulnerable to flooding and contamination from an adjacent stream and surface water.


As I understand it, a contract has been signed with Ward and Burke Construction Limited to carry out the work, which has commenced on site.


The project is due to be completed by 2020,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

Motorway Roads Social Issues Transport

“Toll Barrier Solicitors paid €12 million in enforcement fees,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to engage with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on the proportionality of fines relating to non-payment of Toll Fees. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he obtained information in a parliamentary question that revealed that Pierce Fitzgibbon Solicitors, acting in the capacity of enforcement service provider for the M50 barrier-free tolling system, was paid fees amounting to €3million per annum for each of the last four years:

“I think most people when they hear about the level of legal fees being paid to a single firm for the collection of fines will be more than a little shocked.

The information provided to me also makes it clear that the Revenue collected by Pierce Fitzgibbon averaged about €2.6million per year for each of the last 4 years, amounting to €10.4 million.

I was reminded of just how severe the fine collection process can be when a constituent came to me after receiving a letter saying he now owed over €1200 following an initial non-payment of a toll fee that was under €20.

He had engaged with the enforcement service providers and paid two instalments of €50, and one instalment of €100.

That was literally ten times the toll fee originally owed by him.

It got to the point where he just could not afford to pay the monthly fine.

Despite this, fines of €150 kept accumulating despite my constituent’s insistence that he could not pay and was also trying to deal with a restructured mortgage.

Thankfully, and only after intervention from my office, did Pierce Fitzgibbon acting as enforcement providers, finally accept repayment of €30 per month for the €1247 fine.

It is cases like these that highlight the need for some kind of review of the proportionality surrounding the accumulation of Toll Fee Fines and indeed the millions in legal fees that are being generated on an annual basis,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland Transport

“If Rates Payers were customers, Tipp Co. Council would be out of business,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on Tipperary County Council to urgently consider the introduction of extended working hours in order to complete The N24 Davitt Street Road Improvement Contract in Tipperary Town. Deputy McGrath was speaking as significant frustration continues to mount among local businesses and rates payers concerning the slow progress of the works:

“I am being contacted on a daily basis by business owners who are objecting to the slow progress of the works.

The contract was initially signed on the 5th November 2018 and it is expected to run for at least eight months.

That is way too long in terms of the adverse impact on local trade. We need to consider extended working hours, including the extension of works to the weekend to get this project finished in as expeditious a manner as possible.

Just yesterday we heard that the extensive roadworks on the Thurles approach road at Knockalton in Nenagh will be finished ahead of schedule.

We need the same commitment here.

What local businesses are telling me is that if they treated their customers the way Tipperary County Council treat their rates payers, then they would be out of business,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



“Minister must clarify if Shannon Pipeline Project is now in doubt ,” Mattie McGrath 


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to provide further clarification on the future of the Shannon to Dublin pipeline project that is being proposed by Irish Water. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Minister Murphy requested the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU)/to carry out a review of the Eastern and Midlands Water Supply Project under section 40 of The Water Services Act 2013:

“The Minister says he is doing this to enable his department to have full consent for all commitments for capital expenditure above a certain threshold.

We know however that this Ill-judged project is going to cost at least €1.3 billion, so in that sense a review is welcome.

I just wish the Minister had exhausted all such avenues for review before committing hundreds of millions of taxpayers money to a pipeline that is destined to fail.

To my mind this looks like the delaying tactic the minister needs before he hopefully abandons the project. Either that or he is trying to make the CRU his political scapegoat.

We know from the Kennedy Analysis that at the very least a complete overhaul of the entire project is necessary.

That Analysis proves that, Dublin’s problem is that its water mains are in a third world state of decay having been neglected for decades.

57% of the water put into the supply system pours through holes in its pipes into the ground and never reaches the taps. 57% leakage is astonishing and far from normal.

The Shannon-Dublin Pipeline project does absolutely nothing to address this despite the suggestion that we spend €1.2 billion constructing it.

Minister Murphy must call a halt to this project. If the Minister does not reply, I fully intend to continue organising as much cross party support as possible to highlight this monstrous waste of public money,” concluded Deputy McGrath.



Community Environment Farming Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Rural anger as Hedge-Cutting Regulations will not be in place before 2019,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said there is massive anger and frustration within rural communities over confirmation that regulations permitting the commencement of certain provisions of the Heritage Act will not be in place for at least another year. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed to him that although Section 7 of the Heritage Bill 2016 provides for managed hedge cutting on roadsides and burning these provisions cannot come into force until Regulations are made as provided for under the Heritage Act 2018: 

“To say that there is huge disappointment around this news is an understatement. It was understood by almost everyone involved in this issue that once the Heritage Act 2018 was signed into law, which it was in mid-July, then the provisions allowing for hedge-cutting at the start of this August would be in force.

We now understand that the Minister and her Department had no intention of facilitating this change and have instead told us that it will be at least 2019 before draft regulations are in place.

This demonstrates yet again that Minister Madigan has absolutely zero sense of the urgency surrounding this matter for rural Ireland and indeed for local authorities.

People’s lives are being put at risk for every day in which there is a delay in allowing the cutting of overgrown and dangerous hedges or vegetation.

Some of the roads I have travelled on recently are places where the hedges are almost meeting each other in the middle of the road and where Stop signs are completely obscured.

How the Minister and her officials have utterly failed to grasp that this is an immediate public health risk is beyond me.

The Act has been signed and it must be allowed to be used as a legal basis for rural communities and contractors to get on with the vital work that needs to be done. Further delays are totally unacceptable,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Courts Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland Transport

“Latest hike in Insurance levies must not become a cash cow for the industry,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Michael Darcy, to provide urgent clarification around the future implementation of a proposed 2% insurance levy that is to be introduced in order to fund the pay-out of claims in the event of the failure of a motor insurance company. Deputy McGrath was speaking after The Insurance (Amendment) Bill provided for the levy in order to fund the costs that have arisen following the collapse of Setanta Insurance in 2014: 

“We all recognise the gross injustice that was perpetrated on Setanta policyholders in 2014. Since then they have endured significant distress in terms of the level of hostility and opposition coming from the insurance sector itself.

This was made worse by a decision of the Supreme Court in 2017 which had the effect that of putting Setanta third-party compensation claimants in a position whereby they were only entitled to 65% of their claim.

That being said, I think many motor insurance policy holders in particular will be absolutely furious at the introduction of an additional levy that will essentially provide cover for the reckless behavior of the insurance providers.

It was made clear to me in the Dáil last week that a 2% levy will be imposed in respect of non-life insurance policies. This in addition to another 2% levy that is already in place and which is paid into the insurance compensation fund and which is passed on directly to policyholders.

It is also on top of the 3% stamp duty paid on non-life insurance policies and which has been paid since 1982. This amounts to 7% increase, only 3% of which is tax with the remaining 4% in the form of a levy.

What is deeply alarming about of all of this is that the Minister has not signalled any definite indication as to when this new levy will end. To my mind this raises the distinct possibility that yet again we are witnessing the introduction of a levy, allegedly for all the right reasons, but that ultimately has the effect of becoming a cash cow for the government and the insurance sector.

The Minister must offer some hope to motorists and policy holders that he is acting on their behalf and not simply bowing down to the corporate pressure of a sector that is already fleecing people left, right and centre,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Community Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Tipperary Anti-Illegal Dumping projects set to receive €56,800,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed confirmation by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten, that five projects in Co. Tipperary have been approved for funding under his Department’s 2018 Anti-Dumping Initiative (ADI). The projects that were selected to share in the total allocation of €56,800 are the Mountain View makeover, Ballylynch Community Garden, Burges Beauty Spot, Grangemockler Action Group and the Mill Road Monakeeba Way Pedestrian Walkway:

“This is great news for the communities and projects that have been selected.

We all know that the problem of illegal dumping is fast becoming a scourge that is destroying areas of natural beauty throughout the county.

It is the kind of action that displays a reprehensible disregard not only for our heritage and environment but also for the communities and families who have to put up with it.

The fact that the Anti-Dumping Initiative has been rolled out for another year is, in all fairness, a sign that the Minister is taking this problem seriously.

Illegal dumping can create significant health concerns and can also seriously undermine the capacity of areas to build up and sustain their tourist infrastructure.

There is simply no excuse for this type of action given the wide-spread availability of recycling centres and other disposal methods,” concluded Deputy McGrath.