Community Local Issues Rural Ireland Social Issues

Mattie McGrath calls for a taskforce to address the appalling prevalence of rural crime

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for the establishment of a taskforce to address the prevalence of intimidation and crime impacting rural communities.

Deputy McGrath called for extra resources to be provided for the gardaí to clamp down on the prevalence of criminal activities including lamping and hunting that currently have a devastating impact on rural communities.


Deputy McGrath spoke of a recent incident in Clonmel that saw a young farmer being assaulted by a gang, with gardaí not receiving adequate support to prevent and deal with such instances.

Addressing the Dáil during questions on policy or legislation, Deputy McGrath said:


“Last week I spoke about the issue of open drug dealing and intimidation in Clonmel town centre. Clonmel is a fine town with fine people. An incident happened on Friday night that saw a young farmer returning home and was confronted by a gang, beaten to the ground, kicked underneath his van and left there. It could have been a fatality. Will you do something to support the gardai in Clonmel? The numbers are appalling.


“The Gardaí there are doing their best but the management has a lot to answer for. Gardaí are in danger themselves, often in a squad car on their own in the middle of the night. Will you set up a taskforce to deal with the problem in Clonmel and the surrounding parishes?


“There are roving gangs intimidating all families, with instances of lamping which is illegal and hunting rabbits and hares unmuzzled, which is also illegal and we don’t hear anything about it. They are intimidating farmers, their wives and families. It’s almost out of control and the gardai are going to lose control of it unless you send in resources immediately.”



Video Clip below:

Farming Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Farmers protest exposes the delays and empty rhetoric around rural commitments,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that the protest planned by farmers for later today is a clear indication of the enormous gap that exists between promises and delivery to rural Ireland. Deputy McGrath was speaking ahead of the protest which is expected to arrive at Merrion Square for 11:00am, with protesters on tractors meeting at 12:00pm:

“Minister Creed must wake up and realise that farmers do not have time to wait around for improved conditions or alleviation from punitive carbon tax increases.

Protestors who are leaving their farms in droves to travel to Dublin today are taking part in an action born out of sheer frustration with the lack of progress on so many issues.

They look at state agencies like Bord Bia and Teagasc and they do not see organisations that understand the gravity of the threats facing farmers.

That is why the protestors have made the root and branch reform of these state agencies one of their demands that needs to be addressed

Increasingly they are also looking at the main farmer representative bodies and asking if they too are really listening.

I and some of my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group have submitted a request for a debate on this issue later today.

We hope that this will be given and that we will finally hear something positive from the Minister. In any event we will be supporting the farmers in their march to Dublin and will be endeavouring to assist them in any way possible,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Rural Ireland Transport

“Irish Rail treatment of Cahir Cub and Scout Group an absolute disgrace,” Mattie McGrath


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to seek immediate explanations from the senior management at Irish Rail as to how 35 Cahir school children were left without any proper seating on a pre-booked train journey back from Dublin. Deputy McGrath was speaking after Scout Leaders in Cahir contacted him to express their outrage at the treatment and danger which the children were subjected too:

“This is a disgraceful incident that demands an immediate answer from Irish Rail. As I understand it the Cahir Cub and Scout Group comprising 35 children had to leave Dublin by Irish Rail in a train that was short two carriages.

This meant that the children, who had booked seats were left sitting on the floor and on tables and under tables.

It is simply horrifying to imagine what might have happened in the event of any kind of incident on the line.

These children and indeed the other passengers were exposed to serious levels of danger and that is entirely unacceptable.

The very least Irish Rail should do is offer an full and immediate reimbursement of the cost of the tickets, as well as issue an apology for the conditions the children were forced to travel in.

I will be pursuing this matter at the highest level with Irish Rail and the Minister until this issue has been resolved and assurances are provided that a repeat incident will not take place,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


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 Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Rejection of rural-friendly amendments highlights Dublin-centric mindset,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has criticised the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohue, for refusing to accept a number of amendments to the Finance Bill, 2019, that were aimed at introducing alleviating measures for rural dwellers and farm contractors. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a lengthy debate in the Oireachtas Finance Committee which saw the Minister set his face against accepting the vast majority of amendments submitted by opposition TD’s:

“The experience of most of us who attended the Committee was one of unrelenting frustration at the inability or unwillingness of Minister Donohoe to understand the reality of living and working in rural Ireland.

My own amendments specifically sought relief from large conglomerates who are snatching up every available acre of land in rural Ireland and who are pushing small farmers and even entire communities into hardship. Yet it was ruled out of Order because it imposed a charge on these people.

Ordinary people simply cannot compete against the resources of these enormous organisations. It is a pity the Minister could not see that.

I also attempted to have the purchase of marked Gas Oil by a haulier subject to a rebate system that can be claimable against Income Tax Payable; but again the Minister decided against it despite the clear damage this is going to do the Farm Contractors of Ireland.

I also sought to introduce a tax credit that can be claimed whereby travel to work is in excess of 15,000km per annum. This would have specifically assisted all those rural workers who are stuck in long and unavoidable commutes or those who have to use a vehicle of one kind or another for long journeys as part of their work, including transporting animals.

It is absolutely ironic that I had only recently asked the Minister for details on the rural proofing analysis conducted by his Department prior to the publication of measures contained in Budget 2020.

I was assured at that point that a wide ranging analysis was performed.

However, from his performance and attitude yesterday it is clear that the department really forgot to give him the memo,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Mechanism to rise beef base prices must be found before resolution takes place,” Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has again called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to re-open talks aimed at ending the beef protests. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he contributed to a lengthy Dáil debate on the matter last night:

“The fundamental priority at this point must be to reengage with all the major stakeholders so we can this bring crisis to a conclusion.

It is absolutely clear that unless a mechanism can be found which permits the raising of base prices for beef then this issue is going to be prolonged, with all the devastating consequences that we have seen to date only getting worse.

There is just too much on the line, and there are too many jobs at stake, for this to go on without a commitment to tackle the fundamental issues surrounding price.

Now that the Beef Plan Movement has been granted a Producer Organisation status, there is no reason why this commitment could not be given.

What we also have to see is an immediate end to the legal threats from MII that have begun to re-emerge.

That is not conducive to finding a resolution because it just polarises opinion even further.

The priority of the factories should be about finding meaningful ways in which they discuss base price issues. That will be the surest way of protecting all those misfortunate workers who have been caught up in this crisis through no fault of their own.

We can and we should be imaginative and creative enough to find a way to protect the interests of both farmer and factory worker alike. That should be our goal at this point,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


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.

Community Gardai Local Issues Rural Ireland Social Issues

“More Garda Stations closed in Tipperary than whole of Dublin combined,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release


Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he is calling on the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, to outline his plans to substantially increase the number and availability of Gardaí in the Tipperary Division. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was confirmed to him in a parliamentary reply that Tipperary has seen the closure of 7 Garda Stations under the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme, while closures across the Dublin North, Dublin North Central, Dublin South, Dublin South Central, Dublin East and Dublin West Garda areas amounted to just 6:

“What these figures clearly show is that rural counties like Tipperary have borne a disproportionate part of the burden when it came to the closing down of garda stations.

The Minister has confirmed to me that the purpose of these closures was to allow front line Gardaí to be managed and deployed with greater mobility, greater flexibility and in a more focused fashion, particularly with regard to targeted police operations.

That has not happened. Instead we find ourselves in a situation where Tipperary where there has been an almost two thirds reduction in the number of Probationer Garda for Co. Tipperary from 2017-2018.

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

When you out these two things together then the situation does not bode well in terms of the sheer availability of garda numbers to police and protect our communities.

What is even more galling is that at the end of his reply to me on the Garda Station closures, the Minister said; “It should be noted that the number of Garda stations in Ireland compares favourably with similar jurisdictions including Scotland.”

This is cold comfort to those farms and families who still feel under siege in their own villages and homes,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


For Written Answer on : 23/07/2019
Question Number(s): 910 Question Reference(s): 33413/19
Department: Justice and Equality
Asked by: Mattie McGrath T.D.


To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Garda stations that have been closed in each Garda division since 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


There has been an unprecedented level of investment in Garda resources across the State in recent years. The allocation to An Garda Síochána for 2019 amounts to €1.76 billion and significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána including €342 million being invested in Garda ICT infrastructure between 2016 and 2021 and €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet.

The Deputy will appreciate that the Garda Commissioner is primarily responsible for the effective and efficient use of the resources available to An Garda Síochána, including responsibility for the formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations. As Minister, I have no direct role in such matters. Indeed the Deputy may recall that as recently as December 2018, the Garda Síochána Inspectorate in its report “Policing with Local Communities” confirmed that it is appropriate that the Commissioner should continue to hold this responsibility.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme, developed and implemented in 2012 and 2013, resulted in the closure of 139 Garda stations nationwide. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that the closures implemented nationally under this programme allowed front line Gardaí to be managed and deployed with greater mobility, greater flexibility and in a more focused fashion, particularly with regard to targeted police operations.

It should be noted that the number of Garda stations in Ireland compares favourably with similar jurisdictions including Scotland.

The table below sets out the locations of the Garda stations that were closed in that programme.

Division Number of Stations Closed
DMR North 2
DMR North Central 0
DMR South 0
DMR South Central 1
DMR East 3
DMR West 0
Cavan/Monaghan 9
Donegal 8
Louth 0
Sligo/Leitrim 12
Cork City 4
Cork North 1
Cork West 9
Kerry 12
Limerick 8
Kilkenny/Carlow 4
Tipperary 7
Waterford 2
Wexford 3
Kildare 3
Meath 2
Westmeath 4
Wicklow 2
Laois/Offaly 4
Clare 9
Galway 11
Mayo 10
Roscommon/Longford 9
Total 139



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.


Community Local Issues Rural Ireland

“Rural Taxi Service’s still being hammered by rising insurance costs,” Mattie McGrath



Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to urgently implement the recommendations of the National Transport Authority (NTA) with respect to the provision and support of rural taxi services. Deputy McGrath was speaking after being contacted by a long time local taxi driver who wished to offer a rural based service only to find that the cost of insurance would be over €4000:


“The NTA have made it explicitly clear to Minister Ross, that the current local area hackney model  needs to change in order to address the significant barriers that currently exist to the provision of these much needed rural services. A significant part of this is the cost of insurance which can rise to €8000 in some cases.


We know that The 2012 Taxi Regulation Review Report recommended the introduction of a local area hackney licence to address transport deficits that would not otherwise be addressed in certain rural areas.


We also know that although Regulations permitting the issue of these licences were introduced in December 2013, there has been very low take up.


That is large part down to the cost of insurance-but it is also because other aspects of the system need to change.


According to The NTA the Minister could take three simple actions that would require no changes to existing legislation but which would dramatically improve the rural taxi network.

First, Minister Ross must simplify the administration involved in the Local Area Hackney application process.


Second; the Minister could Pilot a small number of hackney services that will receive grant-aid in areas that have no hackney or taxi service operating currently; and lastly he could Pilot a small number of community transport services that will receive grant-aid in areas that have no hackney or taxi service operating currently.


I am therefore calling on Minister Ross to explain why he is delaying the introduction of these measures which would go a long toward addressing rural isolation,” concluded Deputy McGrath.