A thaw in relations between South Tipp’s independent TD, Mattie McGrath, and some parts the Fianna Fail party was evident at a ceremonies to commemorate the death of General Liam Lynch, in Newcastle last weekend.
On Sunday the guest of honour at the ceremonies was president of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin TD. Deputy Martin gave an oration following a mass in memory of the War of Independence and Civil War leader.
Many of those in attendance were current and former Fianna Fail public representatives, however, according to Deputy McGrath, Micheal Martin defied criticism from some aspects of his own party for attending the event.
“There was a boycott by some local Fianna Fail figures and some threatening phone calls to Deputy Martin not to come to Newcastle. But I am delighted he came. People that were not there it’s their loss. I’m glad Micheal Martin showed his resolve and came along.”
Among those in attendance were former ministers Ned O’Keeffe and Ollie Wilkinson, current and Fianna Fail councillors from counties Waterford and Cork, new South Tipperary County Councillor Micheal Anglim, Fianna Fail National Executive member for South Tipperary Frank Begley and the chairman of the new all-county Fianna Fail Dail Ceanntar Committee, Arthur Griffin.
“90% of the people there were Fianna Fail but some of the people who proclaim to be leading lights didn’t come.
“Those people are the remnants of a dynasty trying to keep that dynasty alive. The commemoration was not political.”
The attendance of the party leader in Newcastle raised again the question of Deputy McGrath’s political allegiances. Speaking to The Nationalist he said he had a good working relationship with Deputy Martin.
“People can read whatever they like into it - you never know. A lot of people said ‘Mattie you have to come back to the party’ but we didn’t discuss it. That’s a matter for down the road.”
“I’m the chairman of Newcastle Commemoration Committee and we decided we wanted to make the 90th anniversary a special occasion.
“We’ve had a long line of Fianna Fail dignitaries attend the commemoration and we decided to ask Micheal Martin,” Deputy McGrath explained how the leader of his former party was invited to Newcastle.
“Not only did he come to the commemoration but Deputy Martin called to see Pat O’Dwyer, president of the Newcastle Fianna Fail Cumann, in his home, and on his way home called to see former councillor Con Donovan at a nursing home in Mitchelstown.”