Deputy Mattie McGrath has vigorously rejected claims of political opportunism levelled at him by North Tipperary Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan.
Deputy Coonan has claimed that Deputy McGrath has side-lined the greater concerns of his constituency in favour of a futile attack on Minister Alan Shatter:“I am not surprised that Deputy Connan fails to grasp the significance of this issue and instead chooses to portray it as some kind of exercise in populist politics. His own Party have since they were elected continually side-lined the urgent and pressing needs of the people of this Country, which includes the good people of North-Tipperary, in favour of an austerity led agenda that has crippled economic recovery and made political arrogance into an art form. Deputy Coonan’s statement demonstrates that arrogance and so he is in no position to speak to those of us who are with sincerity and integrity trying to ensure that the principles of transparency and accountability apply equally to all citizens. These are principles Fine Gael seem to have abandoned however.”
The controversy surrounding Minister Shatter will continue today when the Private Members Motion of No Confidence tabled by Fianna Fail will be voted on this evening: “I as an elected representative and legislator am bound to raise any credible issue which impacts on the integrity of the Ministers and Offices of this State. If Deputy Coonan thinks that I should just ignore this and be silent about the level of confidence that is expected in a Minister for Justice, then that reflects more on him than on me. He may be content to give blind loyalty, I am not. Deputy Coonan also seems to have conveniently forgotten that this whole debate has been exasperated and become more protracted by the Ministers failure to answer to specific questions. Like most actions of Fine Gael these days however, they would rather persist in treating the people with disdain rather that give the honest Government that they promised, one need only ask the people of Omagh about this,” concluded Deputy McGrath.