Mansergh says FF presence vital in South Tipp

In a statement this week, Minister of State Martin Mansergh says he regrets the decision of Mattie McGrath to leave Fianna Fail but says he will be seeking a nomination for the party at this weekend's convention.

In a statement this week, Minister of State Martin Mansergh says he regrets the decision of Mattie McGrath to leave Fianna Fail but says he will be seeking a nomination for the party at this weekend's convention.

He says - "I have noted with regret over the last few months a gradual parting of the ways between my colleague Mattie McGrath and the Fianna Fil party as shown in some of his voting behaviour, which has culminated in his resignation from the party today and his decision to contest the forthcoming General Election as an independent candidate.

The two of us were part of a famous and unexpected victory in 2007, when Fianna Fil won two seats for the first time since Tipperary South became a three-seat constituency. The 78th seat, narrowly won, put it beyond reasonable doubt that Fianna Fil would be in pole position to put together a Government. As two Government Deputies, Mattie McGrath and myself worked effectively together on many issues, for example, in relation to stalling reconfiguration of the Clonmel Hospital (STGH) or trying to maintain FS Schemes.

"It would be widely acknowledged, Deputy McGrath is a hard-working Deputy, who has sought to contribute actively, not just to the solution of constituency problems, but expressing forcibly his views on decisions made at national level. I wish Mattie, his wife Margaret, and his family well in the future.

"It is my intention to seek a Fianna Fil nomination at the election convention due to be held in Cashel on Saturday night. Subject to the will of the people, it would be important that a Fianna Fil presence from Tipperary South be maintained in the next Dil. A national party has far more enduring influence than any ad hoc group of independents, whether centre-right or hard-left. Most of the people in this country have significant reservations about the stand and deliver posture characteristic at times of independent deputies, and do not feel that is a proper way to run a democracy.

"I am proud of the local record of successive Fianna Fil-led Governments in the constituency since 1997. We have also contributed a great deal to national progress over the decades, notwithstanding recent severe setbacks and some serious and regrettable mistakes made. There needs to be a constructive, not just a populist, opposition in the next Dil, based on experience of crisis management, and a clear understanding of the constraints under which the country, and under the next Government will be operating. If we value our public services and our standard of living we cannot afford to burn our bridges with our European partners and institutions or the IMF who are lending us money, until we can better align our spending and our revenue.