Mattie McGrath to run as independent

Tue, Jan 25, 2011, 00:00

Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath has announced he will contest the general election as an independent candidate.

Mr McGrath (52) said he had been forced to leave Fianna Fáil, a party he had been a member of since he was 16, because it seemed intent on protecting the rich and crucifying everyone else.

Mr McGrath denied he was cynically resigning from the party in an attempt to save his own Dail seat. He said he had run out of “final straws” with Fianna Fáil.

He said widespread unemployment, pay cuts, negative equity, the recent price hike at health insurer VHI and last week’s leadership debacle had forced his hand.

He was also critical of the party leadership, saying Taoiseach Brian Cowen never properly accepted him.

“He didn’t engage and he never accepted me as the elected representative for South Tipperary because he had other cronies that he was dealing with, and that was his downfall, probably,” he said.

Mr McGrath lost the Fianna Fáil whip in the summer when he voted against legislation on stag hunting. He subsequently voted against the €85 billion EU-IMF bailout and legislation reducing the minimum wage.

A former chairman of South Tipperary County Council, Mr McGrath was elected to the Dáil for the first time in 2007.

Additional reporting: PA