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The former president is a committed Catholic who has been a frequent critic of the church.
Papal Visit

Mattie McGrath: People are 'getting sick and tired' of Mary McAleese and she should 'get off the stage'

The TD says the former president’s frequent criticism of the Catholic Church is ‘getting silly’

TIPPERARY TD MATTIE McGrath has said that people are “getting sick and tired” of former president Mary McAleese and that she should “get off the stage”.

The deputy was speaking to Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show ahead of the visit of Pope Francis and said that people welcoming the visit should be able to enjoy it without the former president intervening.

McGrath said that McAleese’s regular criticism of the church has “gone beyond silly”.

“Obviously the lady has issues and she needs to deal with those issues. And if she wants set up her own church too, but just go away and let people who want to enjoy the Pope go and enjoy him.”

She was damn glad of the support of Irish people, bog standard Catholics as she calls them, when she was trying to get elected. She used them, so if she wants to form her own church go do so and get off the stage.

McAleese is an expert in canon law and a committed Catholic but in recent years has been increasingly critical of some of the policies of the church’s hierarchy.

McAleese has described the Catholic Church as “an empire of misogyny” , has attacked its ban on women priests as  ”pure codology” and earlier this year was banned from taking part in a Vatican conference as part of International Women’s Day.

As part of its coverage of the Pope’s visit to Ireland this week, RTÉ broadcast a programme called Mary McAleese’s Modern Family which explored her Catholicism and the place of families in the religion.

McAleese has spoken publicly about her son being gay and the fact that such marriages are not accepted by the church she is part of.

Asked about the ban on McAleese speaking at the Vatican conference, McGrath said that she has a public platform regardless.

I don’t know what she was banned from but she hasn’t been banned from RTÉ or your own programme because she’s hogging the airwaves. She’s some issues obviously that she needs to deal with herself.

“She used the Catholic Church to get where she is and she benefited greatly from it, she needs to examine her own situation and people are getting sick, tired and weary of her,” he added.

McGrath said that previous presidents like Mary Robinson “left the stage gracefully” and that McAleese should follow that example.

The TD acknowledged that McAleese “has a point” in some of the issues she raises but that she is no longer an elected representative.

“Of course she has a point and we all have to deal with it. But it’s pontificating and it’s day-in day-out she’s using her position, she’s no longer president. She had a good innings as president and her husband does a great job, but look like other former presidents they have sat on the Council of State meetings and they have respected the dignity of the incumbent.”

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