The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, was accused of shying away from merging Kilkenny and Carlow County Councils by South Tipperary’s Mattie McGrath.
In heated exchanges in the Dáil, Deputy McGrath accused the Minister of being “out to destroy South Tipperary” by merging North and South Tipperary councils into one.
“We fought off Cromwell and we will fight off the minister,” he said. “Cromwell came to Clonmel and we hunted him,” he said.
Minister Hogan replied: “We are putting it together. Is Deputy McGrath for the reunification of Tipperary?”
Deputy Mattie McGrath then said: “I am against it.”
And Minister Hogan said: “He is against the unification of Tipperary!”
Deputy McGrath said Minister Hogan announced in his local newspaper that he spent €1 million on hanging offices for Kilkenny County Council over the top of the Ard Ri in Waterford.
“I have the Kilkenny People sent to me on the odd occasion to inform me about what is happening in Kilkenny,” he said.
“One could almost fall over the river into the city. It is part of Waterford city but the minister had the audacity to give €1 million to Kilkenny officials in order to rent a building in a shopping centre for office accommodation.
“He is destroying Tipperary and Limerick. He is showing a blatant disregard for public money. It is a horrible abuse of power and I resent it.”
On March 31 it was reported in the newspaper that €1 million was being provided for offices in Waterford city for Kilkenny County Council, he said.
“The people of Waterford do not want to deal with Kilkenny County Council,” Deputy McGrath said. “They do not like Kilkenny in the hurling either but that is sport. They are Waterford people. They live in a city. It is like Athlone or my own town of Clonmel.”
Why, he asked, can the minister open a competition for a dual manager for Limerick and possibly Waterford city and county while studiously avoiding the amalgamation of Carlow and Kilkenny, which was also recommended?
“It is blatant arrogance, nepotism and cronyism. He is blatantly looking after his own county.”