About Brendan Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence, Member of the Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, Member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, Member of the North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association.

Brexit uncertainty increased by fragmented British political landscape – Smith

brexit bigger

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said uncertainty and concerns have increased in the Border Region as the Brexit deadline of October 31st approaches.

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the introduction of Brexit contingency plans, the Border Region TD commented, “We should prepare for a disorderly Brexit as it becomes clear there is a vacuum of leadership in London and Stormont. It is very concerning this is the situation we find ourselves in as the October deadline looms.

“The claims from Tory leadership candidates are frightening and short-sighted. The wild speculation and the misinformation that is passing for political analysis from those around both of the Tory leadership candidates leaves us with no alternative but to be prepared for the worst, but we must still be careful that what we do and say does not add fuel to the flames of the misinformation. There is a responsibility, indeed a duty, on those who speak for the Government to be measured and precise in their phraseology in these uncertain times. People need to be kept informed.

“The political atmosphere on the neighbouring island is now so febrile that even the wildest piece of nonsense, something that we here know as totally untrue and incorrect, is hailed as political fact. We risk seeing a whole fictional fake news world being built up around the idea of alternative arrangements as a viable and available solution.

“There is much uncertainty over the border. As someone who crosses the border daily, travelling around our community the proposed ‘solutions’ are very concerning.

 “We cannot allow a hard border to be implemented on our island. The government must do everything to protect against this. The primacy of the Good Friday Agreement must be protected.

 “While we still fervently hope for an orderly and managed Brexit based on the already negotiated withdrawal agreement with a lengthy and calm transition phase, we know that we must prepare for a no-deal Brexit,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Harsh FG/Labour cuts leaving pensioners paying the price – Smith

pension

– Fewer than half of reviews have resulted in increased payments –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said that old people are still feeling the hurt from changes to the State pension brought in by the last Fine Gael/Labour government.

The changes, introduced in 2012, disproportionally impacts women, resulting in reduced pension payments.  Last year Fine Gael promised to review the anomaly, but figures provided to Fianna Fáil reveal that fewer than half of those reviewed to date have seen their payments increase.

Deputy Smith commented, “The changes to pension entitlements brought in by the Fine Gael-Labour government in 2012 were mean-spirited and cruel and have negatively impacted thousands of pensioners in Cavan-Monaghan. Fianna Fáil rejected this policy and campaigned to get it reversed, ultimately leading to the decision by Minister Doherty to review the current situation.

“However, the latest information from the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection is extremely disappointing.  Around 90,000 pensioners are having their documentation reviewed.  To date, just over 77,000 reviews have been completed but only 32,000 pensioners have received an increase in their pension.

“Pensioners have contacted my offices with concern over delays in a decision and no increases in many cases. The government must not continue to disrespect pensioners following their own policy changes,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Delay in reimbursements unacceptable – Smith

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-Cross-Border Directive patients left waiting months for reimbursement-

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said the delay in reimbursements through the Cross-Border Directive (CBD) programme is unacceptable and has called on the Minister for Health to increase resources within the CBD office to tackle waiting times.

Deputy Brendan Smith explained, “Over the years the CBD programme has become increasingly popular, primarily due to growing waiting times for procedures in our health care system.

“In my own constituency many have availed of the programme and gone across the border for medical procedures. However, they pay up front and await reimbursement which is often months being processed.

“The onus is on the Minister and his Department to ensure people are repaid monies owed. In most cases, people are traveling for treatment due to his failing HSE. The least the HSE can do is reimburse people in a timely manner,” concluded Deputy Smith.

CBD PQ 2781319

 

Increase in resources required for Border Region – Smith

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-Gardaí require robust resources ahead of Brexit

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said that further policing resources are required in the Border Region following an increase in crime in the region and the forthcoming Brexit deadline.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “There is a requirement for increases in the resources and Garda numbers allocated to our area. Across the island, the Border Region is the area most susceptible to an increase in crime post Brexit.

“We have feuding gangs in the North East and a spate of ATM robberies throughout the region. I fear this trend will only increase following a disorderly Brexit.

“There is a fear in communities throughout Cavan-Monaghan. Without a robust police force there is no chance of this fear subsiding,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Policing PQs 2689219 2689319

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Minister must deliver on broadband – Smith

 

Below is a reply by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to a Parliamentary Question I tabled in Dáil Éireann regarding the Eir proposal in relation to the provision of Broadband nationally.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 02/07/2019
Question Number(s): 548,549,568,571 Question Reference(s): 27988/19, 27989/19, 28019/19, 28184/19
Department: Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Asked by: Barry Cowen T.D., Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

[Ref No: 28184/19]

*  To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has considered the recent proposal by a company (details supplied) in relation to the provision of broadband nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  – Brendan Smith.

* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 2nd July, 2019.  Eir

(919  Received on 26th June, 2019.)

Transferred from Public Expenditure and Reform

REPLY
I propose to take Question Nos 548, 549, 568 and 571 together.

I would like in the first instance to clarify that eir has made no formal proposal to Government to replace or supersede the National Broadband Plan.

At its appearance at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, eir’s CEO outlined eir’s view on the value for money of the NBP. eir’s CEO made certain observations with regard to eir’s own model for delivery of rural broadband, which could only be delivered outside of the current procurement process. My Department requested a detailed outline from eir setting out the assumptions made and the financial model underpinning eir’s assumptions. eir provided further information to my Department at close of business on Friday 28 June and my Department and its NBP advisers are currently analysing this information.

Full Podiatry Services will be continued in Cavan – Brendan Smith TD

podiatryCavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD, Brendan Smith has been informed by the HSE that full Podiatry services for persons with diabetes will be restored in Cavan town at the end of July.

“Concerns had been expressed to me by diabetes patients in relation to the continuation of full Podiatry services in Cavan town.  In response to my representations the HSE state that a vacancy had arisen in relation to the provision of such services but they now expect that the new post-holder will take up this position full-time at the end of July 2019.

This is a welcome development and I hope that there will be no undue delay in having full services restored” stated Brendan Smith TD.

COPY OF PQ REPLY ATTACHED

 

13th June 2019

 

Mr. Brendan Smith, T.D.

Dáil Éireann,

Leinster House,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2

 

Ref:        PQ ref 24511/19 – To ask the Minister for Health when Podiatry Services will be restored for patients in County Cavan and if he will make a statement on the matter.

 

Dear Deputy Smith,

The Health Service Executive has been requested to reply directly to you in the context of the above Parliamentary Question, which you submitted to the Chief Officer, CHO 1 for response.

I wish to advise that the post holder vacated the post in May 2019 and it is expected that the new post holder will take up this post full time at the end of July 2019.

I trust this information is of assistance to you but should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

Timing of Mercosur deal could not be worse for Irish farmers – Smith

beef cattle1200px-Flag_of_Mercosur.svg

– South American beef deal could be catastrophic for Border Region farming sector –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said the Minister for Agriculture and Taoiseach must oppose any ratification of the Mercosur deal as it could spell disaster for beef farmers in Ireland.

It was announced in recent days that negotiators from the European Union and the South American Mercosur trading block have agreed a trade deal.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “This deal has taken almost 20 years to negotiate and Irish farmers have opposed the proposals in it every step of the way.  The deal has always had the potential to damage Irish farming but combined with the possible loss of trade in the British market as a result of Brexit, Mercosur could prove catastrophic.

 “In some respects, it is no surprise the government have not advocated stronger on behalf of our beef sector given how out of touch they are with the sector.

“This deal will see 99,000 tonnes of South American beef allowed into the European market every year.  This will have a huge impact on prices, at a time when beef farmers are already struggling with prices on the floor.

“Minister Creed knows that this is a bad deal for Ireland.  He must engage with his European counterparts to ensure that there is no decision to ratify this deal given that we do not know what the full impact of Brexit will be. 

“We export around 270,000 tonnes of beef to the UK every year, will our farmers now have to compete with cheap South American imports in a post-Brexit scenario?

“This is an exceptionally volatile period and I believe the EU should not take any decisions on this deal until the full post-Brexit scenario is known”, concluded Deputy Smith.

Ends

Unpreparedness rife ahead of Brexit – Smith

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– Figures revealed to Fianna Fáil show over 65,400 UK trading businesses do not have      EORI number

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has said that there are serious gaps in preparations for Brexit, particularly in terms of the number of businesses registered for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

It has emerged 65,400 businesses have not registered with Revenue for an EORI. An EORI number is the minimum requirement for businesses that wish to trade with, or through, the UK following their departure from the EU.

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “The fact that 65,400 businesses that trade with the UK have not registered for an EORI number is very concerning. For those of us in the Border Region, who trade with UK based businesses almost every day, it is most concerning.

“It is evident that the Government’s strategy in terms of encouraging and supporting businesses to prepare for Brexit is falling considerably short of what is required.

“The Summer Economic Statement underscores that if a no deal Brexit comes to pass it will have very serious repercussions for Ireland with the potential for thousands of job losses. Combined with the threat of a new British Prime Minister who appears happy to see the UK crash out on Oct 31st, it would be reckless to not ram up preparations.

“It is essential Government redouble their efforts to ensure that businesses are adequately prepared for one of the gravest threats that this State and the Border Region has ever faced,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.

EORI PQ 2669819

 

Delays in CBD scheme highlight an under resourced office – Smith

crossborder_focus
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has called upon the Minister for Health to step up resources to ensure patients are not left waiting for long periods of time on reimbursement via the Cross Border Directive (CBD) office.   

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Patients are unduly punished by the current scheme as they wait weeks upon weeks for reimbursement from the CBD programme.

“It is common knowledge there has been an increase in those availing of the scheme. The CBD provides people who are languishing on waiting lists with an alternative option by giving them the opportunity to avail of health services in another European country. It has proven to be a successful scheme. Many from the border region will travel north to avail of medical treatments and surgeries.

“I understand the CBD team themselves have contacted the Department of Health seeking extra resources.

“The Minister should provide additional resources within his Department to the CBD team to ensure patients are not left waiting long periods of time for reimbursement,” concluded Deputy Smith.

CBD PQ 2567519

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Insurance company profits soar while businesses struggle to pay premiums – Smith

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Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has questioned the Minister for Finance on the spiralling costs of insurance premiums and called for urgent and meaningful reform of the industry.

In his response the Minister acknowledged the problems faced by many small businesses in relation to the cost and availability of insurance as well as the frustrations they have with the pace of reform.

Deputy Smith commented, “It’s not good enough for the Minister to acknowledge the challenges which exist in terms of insurance alone. His acknowledgement must be followed by real and meaningful reform.

“The cost of insurance is simply unsustainable. Motorists, homeowners and business owners are all being crippled by the cost of insurance. We recently learned of the closure of the much-loved petting farm and visitor centre in Killinkere as a result of skyrocketing insurance.

 “At a time when people are out spending more, SME’s should be experiencing an increase in business. Instead, they are being pushed to the pins of their collar and many are contemplating reducing staff numbers or closing all together.

 “To add insult to injury, we know that three of the country’s main insurance companies made a combined profit of almost €200m in 2018 – clearly they are not passing on their profits to customers. They are raking it in by imposing huge premiums on consumers who can scarcely afford them.

 “I want to see more definitive action from Government. This needs to stop before we see the closure of more businesses and further job losses”, concluded Deputy Smith.