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'Spectacularly rude': TD criticises Bulmers company for asking him to leave meeting

Mattie McGrath said that C&C Chair Sir Brian Stewart was “unprofessional” and “intimidating”.

Mattie McGrath (File photo)
Mattie McGrath (File photo)
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

INDEPENDENT TD MATTIE McGrath has criticised C&C, the company that produces Bulmers, for not allowing him to attend a shareholders meeting in Dublin yesterday.

McGrath told TheJournal.ie that C&C Chairperson Sir Brian Stewart would not allow him to enter the meeting room and shouted at him to leave.

“He was very, very intimidating, or he tried to be – it didnt bother me … Quite frankly he was obnoxious. He shouted at me in the foyer of the hotel.”

The Tipperary South TD said that he was there to talk to the board about concerns raised with him by workers in the Bulmers Cider plant in Clonmel.

“They clearly didn’t want me to ask the questions I was going to.”

In recent years, several job losses and pay cuts have taken place at the Tipperary-based plant.

McGrath said that there is “massive fear and trepidation” among staff about the future, noting:

Workers have come to me in the dead of night, having to remain anonymous because of a confidentiality clause in their contracts … If they open their mouth they’re gone.

“In the course of my duties as a public representative I have had to attend many shareholders meetings and AGMs over the years, but my treatment at this meeting was nothing short of aggressive and insulting.”

A spokesperson for C&C said that the company would not be commenting on the issue.

‘Visibly outraged’

McGrath said that he had a legitimate reason for being there and objected when asked to leave.

“There is no other way to put it except to say that the Chairman was visibly outraged at my temerity in seeking to ask a limited number of questions on behalf of the Clonmel workforce.

It is deeply worrying to think that if the Chairman treats an elected public representative with such arrogant condescension then what hope have the workers who have been attempting to have their concerns addressed for some considerable period of time?

McGrath said that he has written to the Chief Executive of C&C, Stephen Glancey, to “demand an immediate apology not only for the disgraceful treatment I experienced but far more importantly for the continuous dismissal of the group’s Clonmel workforce who have been the powerhouse behind C&C’s year-on-year profit growth”.

He added that about €40 million of the company’s €127 million profit in 2013 was made in Ireland.

The TD urged Stewart to “adopt a more conciliatory approach” in the future to “avoid publicly humiliating the good name of his company by such unprofessional and spectacularly rude conduct.”

“That’s not the way to operate in a democracy,” he added.

Read: Full metal racket: The Government’s in no mood for a scrap, and the McGraths are livid…

Read: Government quango costs ‘spiralling out of control’ – McGrath

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Órla Ryan

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