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Local Authority Boundaries Review: Motion [Private Members] (Continued)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

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  10 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath] It was said that we should table motions to keep the property tax that is paid in Tipperary in Tipperary and keep the equalisation fund. The statistics demonstrate that over 50% of Ireland's GDP, which is the total value of everything produced in this country, is generated in Dublin. This is despite the fact that an estimated 60% of the population live outside County Dublin. That is a stark statistic, and it is getting worse. These figures are from a European body. These figures point, yet again, to the absurdly disproportionate level of economic activity that is concentrated in Dublin. I walked down to the church on Clarendon Street to say a prayer. There are cranes all over the place and homeless people on the streets beside them, yet this Government is building offices. We want people to get back to work. We all do, but where are they going to live? It is nonsense. All the cranes are building commercial departments. There is no real interest in housing. Where are the people going to go? On the one hand it is great news for those living and working here in Dublin, but it also gives the lie to the idea that the rest of the country would benefit from a booming economy in the capital. It is a farce. There are many reports and much spin. The Taoiseach is now spending €5 million on a PR team. It will be no use. As I said about the budget, it will be like snow in a ditch. It will be like the fog in Kerry, west Cork, Kinvara or the Knockmealdowns in my own area that disappears at ten o'clock in the morning.

That the rest of country will benefit has clearly not come to pass, and it has been left to stagnate instead, particularly rural Ireland. The Minister of State knows that better than I do. He was shouting about it for years in opposition, when it was his job and his duty. Now he is trying to defend the indefensible. Even the European Commission in Ireland has observed that the figures here are way out of kilter with the majority of other EU capitals. Surely we can listen to that. I came back from Liverpool this evening where I spent two days discussing Brexit. It is quite clear why they left. There is too much bureaucracy, stagnation and bullying from Europe. The European Commission has also pointed out that in 2004 the shift in economic activity towards Dublin was the second highest in the EU, at 5.5 percentage points. That cannot be good. What we are continuing to see, therefore, is the total absence of any effective measures to address the massive imbalance that exists between Dublin and the rest of the State. This has to be addressed, not only at Government level but also at EU level, where perhaps consideration might be given to an idea such as making industrial grants conditional on development in rural Ireland. We have to do something like that because development is not happening. This would be consistent with the EU's own agenda of making areas with viable commercial and industrial centres.

So many concerns addressed here tonight centre around the idea of giving rural Ireland a fair and proportionate chance to thrive. We are not beggars. We are a proud people, and we want to be able to work, live, play, and support our clubs and our neighbours. Community alert groups are out tonight checking on their elderly neighbours. That is the kind of people we are in rural Ireland. We do it. We do not have the handouts, but we are entitled to our fair share. That is all we want, and we are not getting it.

Deputy Grealish spoke about the amalgamations in Galway. The amalgamations in Tipperary were an abject failure. It is a pity the previous Minister is gone. He spoke about the local government Act in 2014. The flame in south Tipperary is in the person of both myself and the former mayor of the proud town of Clonmel who have a case in the High Court challenging many aspects of that legislation. I had the privilege of serving that summons on the former Minister, big Phil Hogan, the enforcer, when he was having a cup of coffee in this House. He thought I had something nice for him, and he had a look on his face the like of which he had during the water charges issue when he spoke about the ordinary people and what he was going to do with them. The look was gone off his face after the next election. I served that summons on him. It is there, and is to be challenged.

I have questions about that amalgamation in Tipperary in 2014 which was decided on in this House. I was the only man to stand up, not Deputy Cowen, who was here as well, and say that we would be heard from again in another place. I could not call a vote because I did not have the adequate numbers, and it all went through nicely. How did he appoint executives from north Tipperary to take over south Tipperary a year before the legislation was enacted, or even discussed or debated?

All is not well. The people in rural Ireland are awake. The west is awake. West Cork is awake. Clare is awake. Kerry is awake. Tipperary is awake. Many areas that our group represent are awake.

Deputy Damien English: Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English Do not forget Galway.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Of course Galway is awake. They won the all-Ireland. They are alive and awake and are not going to accept this any more because it has gone on for far too long. All governments have paid lip service, but the permanent government are here, with their hands on the handlebars, and it would take a jackhammer to get them off. They do not want to give anything to rural Ireland. Let the croppies lie down. Cromwell said "To hell or Connaught". Now it is to hell or any place except Dublin. That is bad. We see the homeless problem, the problem with education, with parking-----

Deputy Damien English: Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English Check the job creation statistics for the last 12 months.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath When are the jobs coming to rural Ireland? I spoke to people from the IDA in Washington in America last St. Patrick's Day. I was told that they were not even coming as far as Kildare, Naas, or Meath. I will check the stats.

Deputy Damien English: Information on Damien English Zoom on Damien English The Deputy is reading reports from ten years ago.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath One can have all the stats and all the reports. The national planning framework is a bad business. I do not accept the national planning framework people. Who are they? It is all jobs for the boys - retired county managers and retired senior officials. There are very few ordinary people, like shopkeepers or small business people from Tipperary, Kerry, Cork or any other place. No, they will not be consulted at all. They will just pay up or shut up. We have reviewed the race now in Tipperary, all over the county. We are going to put up. We have proud towns, such as Carrick-on-Suir. Clonmel had a budget of €15 million. Now we do not have a shilling. The Minister of State is talking about municipal districts being good. They are not good. They are a disaster. They are too big. The towns are being neglected. We are trying to spread it too thinly and end up with nothing for anyone. Cashel Town Council was there for centuries, where the high kings of Munster sat. We had Roscrea, Templemore and Nenagh and now what have we? We had no town council in Cahir, but we had a block grant every year for the town. You have raped and plundered, and I hate using that word in this context, and you continue to do it. This motion is an effort to correct the imbalance. We want to have a debate here, not just with your slippery, slimy amendments. With the confidence and supply agreement, Fianna Fáil and the Government have proposed two amendments to try to put manners on us and tell us to lie down. We will not lie down and the people of Ireland will not lie down. We will be back agus beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Keep going.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Do not be enticing the Deputy to break the rules. It is not becoming of you, Deputy Healy-Rae.

  Amendment put.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher In accordance with Standing Order 70(2), the division is postponed until the weekly division time on Thursday, 19 October 2017.

  The Dáil adjourned at 10.10 p.m. until 10.30 a.m on Wednesday, 18 October 2017.

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