Mattie McGrath tells Mary McAleese ‘to get off the stage’

Independent TD says former President is ‘spoiling’ Pope’s visit through criticisms

 Independent TD Mattie McGrath: ‘Just go away and let the people that want to enjoy the pope, enjoy him’. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Independent TD Mattie McGrath: ‘Just go away and let the people that want to enjoy the pope, enjoy him’. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Former President Mary McAleese should “get off the stage” and stop criticising the Catholic Church, Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said.

He claimed Ms McAleese ‘used’ the Catholic vote to get elected and was now ‘spoiling’ the pope’s visit for those who were looking forward to it.

“Obviously the lady has issues – and she needs to deal with those issues – and if she wants to set up her own Church, do it,” Mr McGrath told the Pat Kenny show on Newstalk.

“But just go away and let the people that want to enjoy the pope, enjoy him.

“She was damn glad of the support of the Irish people – as she calls them now ‘bog-standard Catholics’ – when she wanted to get elected.

“She used them so, she should now, if she wants to form her own church go do so and get off the stage.”

Mr McGrath is due to meet the pope in Rome on Thursday, ahead of the Pontiff’s visit to Ireland this weekend.

The Tipperary deputy will be in the Vatican as part of the International Catholic Legislators Network.

Mr McGrath has criticised recent statements from a number of current and former senior political figures, as well as others, on the papal visit.

These include Ms McAleese, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone and Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan.

Ms McAleese has described the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which the pope will attend on Saturday, as a ‘right-wing’ rally.