McGrath supporting Gallagher for president

Sian Moloughney

Sian Moloughney

South Tipp’s independent TD, who last week was caught up in a media frenzy about whose presidential nomination he would back, has this week come out and declared his clear support for one candidate.

Deputy Mattie McGrath will be supporting Independent candidate Sean Gallagher in the race or the Aras, he confirmed to the The Nationalist this week.

Last week he declined to sign nomination papers for Independent candidate David Norris, following consultation with his local supporters, but this week Deputy McGrath said that he was never going to be supporting the senator in the presidential election.

He explained that if his supporters had backed him he would, however, have signed Sen. Norris’s nomination in order to give choice to the electorate in the election.

Following last week’s furore the Newcastle based TD said he had met with Senator Norris in Dublin last Wednesday and he was magnanimous, understanding Deputy McGrath’s decision not to sign his nomination papers.

Deputy McGrath said that earlier in the year when Senator Norris approached him for his support he had said no, because he was supporting others. “I had no interest in him as a candidate.”

“I’m leaning towards Sean Gallagher,” Deputy McGrath said when asked who he is now supporting. “He contacted me several months ago looking for a nomination and I said I would support him, but he went down the county council route.”

Deputy McGrath said things would have been different if Tipperary senator Labhras O Murchu had become a candidate. “I would have had to back Labhras. We’ve been friends for 30 years. When he pulled out it left a vacuum.

“Sean Gallagher appeals to me as a young candidate and a fairly experienced entrepreneur.”

Deputy McGrath said Ireland has had two good presidents who have broadened the remit of the office and he thinks Mr Gallagher can do this in the area of the economy. He said that the role of the president is largely ceremonial but this should change. Mr Gallagher has also been involved with youth and community work, Deputy McGrath said. “He’s the right person at the right time. People need a role model to encourage them to get into business.

“Nothing against the rest of them but they’re old hat at politics. We need a fresh approach.”

Deputy McGrath went on to praise a second presidential candidate. “If Mary Davis wants a hand I’m willing to help. I’ve met her a few times and she is talented and able. I’m a little alarmed by the number of boards she was on, I thought she was a volunteer on those boards, but I wish her well.”

McGrath said he will not canvass for Mary Davis.

“I like Michael D as a person, he has been a political animal all his life, but we need to shake up this office,” he added.