Mattie McGrath launched his re-election campaign on Sunday at the Cahir House Hotel with over 500 people attending the event.
McGrath, who is running as an independent community candidate, has represented South Tipperary in Dil Eireann since 2007 and in the local authorities since 1991.
The campaign was officially launched by Mr Jonathan Irwin, CEO of the Jack and Jill Foundation, a national children's charity that Deputy McGrath works closely with. "We represent some of the most vulnerable families and children around the country," said Irwin. "It has been a battle to try and maintain our funding and continue providing services for our families. Mattie McGrath has uniquely come forward to support us and has put himself on the line for the sake of our services and for other marginalised groups," he said. "In his time in the Dil Mattie has shown great courage and for this reason, I am delighted to be here tonight and support his campaign for re-election".
"I have always tried to represent the needs of the people in the most honest and effective way," said McGrath. "This is a challenging campaign, there is a lot of frustration amongst the public about the current situation but I hope that my record of service will stand to me".
"In my first term in the Dil I have sought to make my vote count on all matters, and I have been a proactive member of three important Oireachtas Committees – Social Welfare, Communications and Agriculture," he said.
"It has been an honour to represent the people of South Tipperary. A Teachta Dila - a messenger of the people - has a responsibility to reflect the concerns and opinions of the people. It has always been a privilege for me to work with the local communities in South Tipperary and I hope to be given the opportunity to build on this work in the 31st Dil," said McGrath.
Thanking his supporters, he said, "I am overwhelmed by the level of support here this evening, I would like to thank all of my supporters and everyone who has got involved in the election team for their hard-work ."
Other speakers at the launch included Cllr Richie Molloy, Donal Boyle, Rural Ireland Says Enough (RISE) campaign and local musician and community activist Stiofan Grace. Also in attendance were Will Nugent, South Tipperary Film Festival and members of the Knockanrawley Family Resource Centre. A raffle on the night raised €1,000 in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation.
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