An outraged Independent TD Mattie McGrath has accused his Tipperary Oireachtas colleague Alan Kelly of appalling arrogance after he suggested there would be ‘minimal inconvenience’ for staff that could have to transfer to Nenagh from Clonmel as part of the merger of North and South Tipperary VECs.
The Tipperary Oireachtas members became embroiled in a heated political row after Minister Kelly announced the decision to use Nenagh as the VEC HQ as a “great outcome for the county,”
Minister Kelly has been blasted for being ‘totally ignorant” and adding insult to injury for South Tipperary VEC staff based in Clonmel following the announcement that the headquarters of the merged body will be placed in Nenagh.
In his statement Minister Kelly said Education Minister Ruairi Quinn had confirmed to him that the HQ of the merged Tipperary VEC will be in Nenagh with a sub office in Clonmel.
Minister Kelly said it was appropriate that the headquarters were located in Nenagh and that there would be a facility in place for staff to relocate to Nenagh from Clonmel where necessary and “this will be of minimal inconvenience for those staff,”
Minister Kelly was condemned by Deputy McGrath for his ‘farcical comments’ that were insulting to the staff based in Clonmel.
“It would be inconvenient to have to transfer from Western Road to Gurtnafleur, nobody can afford to travel to Nenagh. What world is Minister Kelly living in, you could travel from Clonmel to Nenagh in a helicopter if you had one,” said Deputy McGrath.
He said Minister Kelly was losing the plot. He accused the North Tipp TD of ‘pulling rank” and said his ‘bullish’ behaviour’ was unacceptable.
“We have no political clout now, we are losing everything to North Tipperary and Kilkenny. We are losing our hospital services to Kilkenny and my big fear now is that we will also lose out when the two County Councils merge,” said Deputy McGrath.
He said the officials and staff of the VEC based in Clonmel in a number of locations were devastated by the decision.
“I think everybody here would have accepted fair play but this is crazy. We cannot get a deputation with any government minister to discuss all of these decisions. We spoke to Joan Burton about it while she was eating a sandwich in the Dail bar, if that’s a deputation, call me Davy,” said an infuriated Deputy McGrath.
South Tipperary VEC Chief Executive Officer Fionuala McGeever said the amalgamation was taking place and that it would take another three years for all of the details to be worked out. Operational issues would be worked out in accordance with the Croke Park Agreement.
“As far as we are concerned there will be a sub-office in Clonmel and staff will remain in Clonmel,” she said.