A local TD has hit back at criticism directed at him following his reaction to a setback to the Fethard Burncourt local water supply scheme. Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that personal comments made about him at a recent meeting of South Tipperary County Council are ‘a pitiful example of statements that bear no relation to reality.’ Deputy McGrath was speaking after he was criticised for demanding public accountability from Ministers Phil Hogan and Tom Hayes in relation to commitments they had given concerning the Fethard/Burncourt Water Treatment Plant.
At the January meeting of the council several councillors criticised a story carried by The Nationalist, in which the independent deputy said delays to the scheme would be “intolerable.” Fine Gael’s Liam Ahern said the comments had been “very unfair,” while his party colleague Cllr Marie Murphy agreed that statement was just “publicity seeking.”Independent councillor Eddie O’Meara described the original statement as “intemperate.”
Following the meeting Deputy McGrath said: “The comments that were made particularly by the Fine Gael councillors are utterly predictable on the one hand and totally out of order on the other. I understand that they are more concerned with protecting the political reputations of the two Fine Gael Ministers who continue to make a farce out of the Water Treatment Plant issue, but that is not my priority. My priority as it has been for the last dozen years is for the people of Fethard/Burncourt and the surrounding areas to have access to clean, fresh drinking water.
“What the Fine Gael councillors cannot avoid is the central fact that explicit assurances were given to me that the work on the plant would be commencing immediately on foot of the green light being given by the Department of the Environment in terms of the allocation of funding. That green light was given by Minister Hogan and welcomed by Minister Hayes before Christmas. I fail to see then how the councillors can in any way try to spin this as a publicity seeking exercise on my behalf.”