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Thursday 21 August 2014

Ejected McGrath in legal talks

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

Published 02/02/2014 | 02:30

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Mattie McGrath,Independent deputy for Tipperary South  at Leinster House yesterday Pic Tom Burke 22/1/14
Mattie McGrath,Independent deputy for Tipperary South at Leinster House

INDEPENDENT TD Mattie McGrath is set to take legal action after his fellow Technical Group members removed him from two Dail committees.

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Mr McGrath is livid at what he labelled the "liberal mob" within the group and says his summary execution was because of his strong pro-life anti-abortion views.

"I wasn't told in advance what was happening. I only learned about it when I saw it on the order paper. This is supposed to be a group of democrats. But there are no minutes of meetings and I wasn't told why I was being removed," he told the Sunday Independent.

This weekend, a furious war of words has erupted between Mr McGrath and Catherine Murphy, whip of the Technical Group. The pair have not spoken directly "in months" and Mr McGrath has accused Ms Murphy of being "very dismissive" of him.

Mr McGrath was booted off the health and communications committees by the Technical Group after he stopped paying its €260-a-month membership fee, which pays for the group's staff and administration.

He has had initial discussions with his legal adviser.

Ms Murphy's daughter Yvonne had previously acted as the group's secretary before resigning last summer.

Mr McGrath complained he was not happy with the service he was getting and described the process to replace her as an "inside job".

"I stopped paying the fees because I wasn't getting a service. If you bring your car to be serviced and the job isn't done, you don't pay. It is as simple as that," he said.

He also claims he was being sidelined by the group because of his religious and pro-life views in terms of speaking time and private members' bills.

Ms Murphy has strongly rejected Mr McGrath's statements.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, she said: "The main reason he was removed was because he never attended meetings. He hasn't been at a meeting since last July.

"He has failed to show up to committees and others in the group have found this intolerable. The group decided we would change the nominees on the committees," she said.

She added that Dublin North TD Clare Daly had expressed a keen interest in going on to the health committee and the group agreed to nominate her.

Controversially, a majority of the group also agreed to replace Mr McGrath with tax cheat TD Mick Wallace on the communications committee.

Irish Independent

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