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Friday 15 December 2017

McGrath tight-lipped on issues that will make him vote against Coalition

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

REBEL TD Mattie McGrath, who has warned Taoiseach Brian Cowen not to count on his support anymore, last night refused to say on what issues he will vote against the Government.

Mr McGrath said his continued support would depend on the retention of acute services at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.

The Tipperary South TD, who lost the Fianna Fail whip for voting against the Government during the summer on the stag hunting bill, also said he wanted the pay cuts to 600 higher paid civil servants implemented in full. The Government performed a U-turn on the issue earlier this year.

But Mr McGrath would not be drawn yesterday on when he will vote against the Coalition, saying he will vote on a case-by-case basis.

He said he wanted the outstanding by-elections held but would not say if he will vote with Fine Gael in the Dail this week when it tries to move the writs for all three. Mr McGrath told the Irish Independent he was not sure how he would vote on the Budget.

On Friday, Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish also threatened to withdraw his support for the Coalition unless health cuts in his constituency were reversed.

Mr Grealish said: "I'm withdrawing my support for this Government and I want all these issues resolved."


But the representative, who signalled he might join Fianna Fail after the demise of the PDs and went on to back the Fianna Fail-Green Party coalition in 2007, added: "I'm not trying to bring down the Government."

Government chief whip John Curran yesterday told TDs threatening to withdraw support from the Coalition that there was no additional money to address local issues.

Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche also said local bargaining by TDs would damage the country.

"I believe that if localism and people wanting to save their skin is put ahead of the national interest we're in a bad place as a nation," Mr Roche told RTE's 'The Week in Politics'.

"There is no doubt about it, we have difficulties. But when you look at people who supported the Government coming on and saying: 'well the cost of my support is x . . .' My belief is that the most important thing is not their individual skin -- it is the nation."

Irish Independent

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