News Lise Hand

Saturday 24 September 2016

Things get ratty as the Tipp tiff livens up Dail

Published 14/06/2014 | 02:30

Mattie McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Mattie McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke

PERHAPS it was because it was late in the evening (around 9pm) and folk were fatigued, but recently an unmerciful scrap erupted in the Dail chamber during a private members' debate on local council supports for rural communities.

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It had a particularly blue-and-gold tinge, as it featured Tipp South TDs and constituency rivals Independent Mattie McGrath and junior agriculture minister Tom Hayes.

And neither man took any prisoners.

An irate Mattie charged that the minister had "abandoned" and "sold out" the people of Tipperary. "Tom Hayes is very scarce unless he goes into the mountains in Dualla or up to Hollywood and escapes," he declared.

Such was the extent of Mattie's needle that the usually debonair Tom lost the head entirely and began hollering at his fellow countyman about how the former Fianna Fail TD "licked Bertie Ahern and ran after him. Bertie Ahern was his saviour".

After one Mattie dig about how he "represents nothing only the big farmers, the landed gentry," Big Tom snapped. "You are a little rat running about the place."

After Mattie went balubas – "you have the cheek to call me vermin" – the junior minister withdrew the r-word. But they didn't kiss and make up.

Deputy McGrath better be vigilant in case any Rentokil vans are diverted from Leinster House to Chez Mattie . . .

Irish Independent

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