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Gaffe TD Mattie McGrath says infamous gathering at the Merrion was worse than Danny Healy Rae video

'But look, there’s no comparison to the Merrion Hotel with the Tánaiste attending – look I don’t condone anything like that'

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Mattie McGrath

Mattie McGrath

Mattie McGrath

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath has said Katherine Zappone’s now infamous gathering at the Merrion was far worse than what has emerged in the Danny Healy Rae video.

The Kerry TD is under pressure after a video emerged which shows his packed pub in Kerry, in breach of hospitality guidelines.

Meanwhile, Katherine Zappone subsequently decided not to take the job of special envoy after it was revealed how she hosted around 50 friends and former colleagues at a private outdoor function in the Merrion Hotel, which was attended by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Mattie McGrath said that while there is no defence of what happened in Kilgarvan, there is no comparison to what happened at the Merrion.

“First of all I haven’t commented on anything like that,” he told Tipp FM. “I haven’t made contact with Danny Healy Rae even though I tried yesterday. I know they had a family wedding themselves two weekends ago – whether it was that I’m not sure.

“But look, there’s no comparison to the Merrion Hotel with the Tánaiste attending – look I don’t condone anything like that."

Deputy McGrath also expressed his opinion Leo Varadkar escaped much of the criticism.

“Every incident that breaks needs to be investigated but if you’re going to have Dara Calleary and I think three Fine Gael office holders have stepped down as a result of it (GolfGate) and the Tánaiste can walk into this.”

“Remember this is not the first time – do you remember the “picnic in the park” when we were all told we couldn’t travel two miles – it’s another gaffe.”

Yesterday a video was published on social media showing people without face masks and not socially distanced inside the Jackie Healy-Rae Pub in Kilgarvan.

The footage, first revealed by Radio Kerry’s current affairs programme Kerry Today, also shows people dancing on tables and a number of males with their tops off.

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Punters are also seen on each other’s shoulders, while one woman appears to be dancing with Danny Healy-Rae outside the bar.

However, the Kerry TD has failed to publicly comment on the video since it emerged.

Mr Healy-Rae also declined to respond to the Irish Independent when contacted about a separate gathering at the pub last July 16.

An image posted on social media shows a wedding party of almost 40 people posing for a picture at the counter of the pub.

The patrons are not wearing face masks and not socially distanced in the photo which also shows Danny Healy-Rae behind the bar counter pouring a pint. This is despite Fáilte Ireland guidelines stating that face masks should “be worn at all times by staff and customers except for when seated at a table”.

It is understood that a family wedding took place in Kerry that day with the ceremony and reception hosted at a different location. Danny Healy-Rae’s son Johnny, a local councillor for the Kenmare area, did not respond to requests for comment by the Irish Independent.

He previously told RTÉ that the family were aware of the video of the gathering at the pub and were looking into the circumstances of it.

Deputy Healy-Rae has long been critical of Government policy on indoor drinking and dining, urging the Government on numerous occasions to trust publicans to open their doors fully to indoor dining and drinking.

The Kerry TD recently said that publicans had been “thrown to the wolves” by latest Government guidelines on indoor dining released by Fáilte Ireland.

He also questioned the Data Protection implications of contact tracing and the inspection of Digital Covid Certificate as people enter pubs or restaurants.

“If you ring up about someone’s medical card or something, there is a huge rigmarole about Data Protection, but now there’s no bother in the world.”

He called the vaccination pass inspections “totally, absolutely ridiculous”.

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