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Did this TD plagiarise a speech on Islamic State from a US congressman?

The Tipperary TD’s motion contains several phrases the same as a resolution from the US Congress.

29/3/2011. Dail debates Moriarty Reports Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

INDEPENDENT TD MATTIE McGrath has denied accusations he used a motion heard in the US Congress earlier this month for his own private members motion.

The Tipperary TD is putting forward a motion calling for “atrocities committed against Christians and other groups” by the so-called Islamic State to be declared genocide.

However, an independent senator took to Twitter earlier to point out that some sentences are word-for-word the same as a resolution put forward by Republican Jeff Fortenberry.

McGrath’s motion contains several of the same phrases used by Fortenberry.

Here are two sections:

PastedImage-57032 Source: CopyScape.com

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PastedImage-21458 Source: CopyScape.com

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One online tool, Grammarly, claims there is ‘significant plagiarism’ in McGrath’s speech, with other online tools citing Fortenberry’s speech as the source. Some lines are unique to the Republican’s motion, however others may appear in UN documents.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie this evening, McGrath said he was “genuinely not aware” of the similarities.

He said the motion, originally due to be heard in the Dáil this week is now expected later this autumn, was the result of a conference he attended with the International Catholic Legislators Network.

Fortenberry was also in attendance.

Hoenig Town Hall Jeff Fortenberry Source: Nati Harnik/AP/Press Association Images

McGrath said there were several discussion groups and lectures held during the conference, and position papers put together, some of which touched upon declaring acts by the Islamic State as genocide:

We met the Pope after that, and he asked us to go back to our parliaments [with this message].

“I’m acting on what I learnt.”

McGrath added that the motion represents how he feels about the situation in the Middle East, and he has “no idea” what Fortenberry used in his speech.

The deputy’s motion will call for the Dáil to recognise that “Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria will be exterminated or forced to migrate solely for their religion by the Islamic State and other militant extremists”.

It goes on to note that “genocide is a crime under international law that shall be punished, whether committed by ‘constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals’ as provided by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”.

Read: ‘If somebody destroyed your house and raped half your family, what would you do?’ >

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Nicky Ryan

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