‘Anti-rural cabinet’ of new Government is ‘shocking’ – McGrath

“It’s shocking that there is no minister at all in Government from the west side of Ireland – from Donegal to Limerick to Kerry.”

This is according to independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath. He gave his reaction to AgriLand about the formation of the new coalition Government between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party last Saturday (June 27).

When asked for his reasons behind abstaining from the vote on nominating Micheál Martin for Taoiseach he said:

While I wasn’t happy about it, there was no other option and we needed a Government to be formed.

However, he said he was shocked at the “anti-rural cabinet” that was elected on Saturday and said previous reassurances on this issue by the leaders of the three parties “had been forgotten about”.

He also expressed his disbelief that a Government department as big as Rural Affairs, had been combined with the Department of Social Protection, as he believes this will lead to rural affairs “not getting the recognition it needs”.

‘Watching over the shoulder’

When asked for his views on the appointment of Barry Cowen as the new Minister for Agriculture and Marine, he said that “he wasn’t the most likely man for the job” but the appointment of Pippa Hackett as a Junior Minister of Agriculture means that the Green Party “are there to watch over the shoulders of Fianna Fáil”, according to McGrath.

He said that the Green Party “had got all over” the Programme for Government. This made him “extremely worried” with regard to the future of rural Ireland.

He also spoke about how the appointment of Green Party leader Eamon Ryan as the Minister of Transport is another worrying development as “he will not build roads unless they are either a greenway or a cycle-way”.

He explained: “Rural Ireland needs constant updates to its road network for us to be able to export our goods and produce.”