About Brendan Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. Co-Chair British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, Executive Member North/South Inter-Parliamentary Association, Member Oireachtas Committee on Implementation of Good Friday Agreement

Brendan Smith welcomes new grant scheme to support home ownership and tackle vacancy in towns and villages across Cavan/Monaghan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has welcomed the recent Croí Cónaithe Towns Scheme which offers grants of €30,000 to €50,000 for first time buyers in order to support the refurbishment of empty homes while breathing new life into our towns and villages. 

Deputy Smith said, “I’m delighted to see this new €50m fund under Housing For All which will support more people to live in our towns and villages by refurbishing currently vacant properties.

“A priority of the Government’s Housing For All plan is to encourage refurbishment of vacant properties to boost housing supply.

“This new scheme offers grants of €30,000 to €50,000 for first time buyers who wish to refurbish a vacant property in a town or village across the country.

“This scheme will support people’s access to home ownership while also breathing life in towns and villages across Cavan and Monaghan.”

ENDS

25/07/2022

Brendan Smith welcomes AIB’s decision to halt cashless branch plans across Ireland

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed the decision by AIB to halt plans to move 70 local branches to a cashless service.

Following an update from AIB today, Deputy Smith commented, “There was widespread concern and deep disappointment when AIB announced plans to stop providing cash at many local branches across the country earlier this week.

“Myself and many of my Fianna Fáil party colleagues immediately sought a change of strategy from AIB on this deeply unfair move.

“Withdrawing cash services from branches will leave many of our most vulnerable people in towns across Ireland without cash banking services, with some customers having to travel an hour to access cash and ultimately getting left behind in terms of being able to effectively deal with their personal finances on a day-to-day basis.” 

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “I am pleased to see that AIB have now decided to change strategy and I will work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the voices of those most vulnerable are heard and they get all the support they deserve and need.”

ENDS

22/07/2022

Funding for Festivals in Cavan and Monaghan

“I welcome the approval by the Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin TD of €18,045 for 8 festivals in Cavan and Monaghan. 

Minister Martin approved total funding nationally of €122,045 for 34 events and there are 8 successful applicants in our own constituency.

This funding is being provided under the Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools scheme to assist in the further development and promotion of Ireland’s cultural tourism product. These festivals are important attractions for local communities and visitors.

Organising such festivals takes a lot of hard work and commitment by volunteers and this government funding gives some help in meeting the substantial costs in hosting these events which are an important part of community life ”, stated Brendan Smith TD.

List of projects below –

ApplicantProject DescriptionCountyFunding allocated
Bailieborough Creative HubA series of guided workshops and ‘plein air’ sessions using a number of different creative techniques (paint, textile, photography, written word etc). A exhibition will be held during the Summer Showcase 2022 to coincide with the Bailieborough Mid-Summer FestivalCavan€3,045
Not Your Average Hooley (NYAH)A Festival of Connection: Six  musicians, singers & dancers to visit  Six  Nursing/Care Residential Homes throughout Cavan Cavan€2,600
Cootehill Branch, Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann16th Annual Gerry Whelan Memorial Traditional Irish Week End to be held in the Town of Cootehill, Co. Cavan, over week end September 9/10/11th 2022.Cavan €1,000
Cavan Arts FestivalCAF is an emerging, innovative multi-disciplinary arts festival in Cavan Town programming includes
arts, outdoor arts, site specific work & “uncategorisable” work
Cavan €3,500
Muckno Mania FestivalA 3 day arts and cultural festival, which  promotes free public participation and engagement in the arts, cultural and leisure activitiesMonaghan€2,500
Teach Solais Community Development CLGÓMÓS – Culture FestivalCavan€2,500
Bailieborough Mid-Summer Festival & Town EventsOne day community street festival to support local artists, musicians and entertainersCavan€2,000
Mullahoran GFCA country music festival held over three nightsCavan€1,000
Total  €18,045

AIB proposals a further blow to Rural Ireland – Smith 

The proposal by Allied Irish Bank to turn 70 branches into cashless outlets represents a further significant reduction in the provision of financial services, particularly in rural Ireland.

This comes at a time when 2 retail banks are exiting this State and more than a million customers have to open new accounts. In various Dáil debates I, along with others, had strongly argued for the establishment of a banking review in this country with all stakeholders participating. It is most disappointing that AIB make this proposal in the middle of this important review.

I welcome the bank’s decision to recruit more staff and I hope they will be employed in this country. Unfortunately there is no mention of additional staff to deal with customers on a person to person basis.

20/07/2022

20th July 2022

HSE Media Release

Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo

Five choices for vaccination in Cavan Monaghan this week

A total of five pop-up COVID-19 clinics will be held across Cavan and Monaghan this week.

The first is taking place in Virginia Health Centre, Virginia, Co. Cavan today, Wednesday July 20th.

The clinic will operate between 1pm and 4pm.

Vaccinations available:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and booster vaccines for those aged 12 years and over
  • Second booster vaccinations for those aged 65 and over

A pop- up vaccination COVID-19 Clinic will be held in Mullagh Health Centre, Mullagh, Co. Cavan on Friday July 22nd from 1pm- 4pm.

Vaccinations available:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and booster vaccines for those aged 12 years and over
  • Second booster vaccinations for those aged 65 and over

In Monaghan a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held in Ballybay Health Centre, Main Street, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan on Thursday July 21st from 2pm to 5pm.

Vaccinations available:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and booster vaccines for those aged 12 years and over
  • Second booster vaccinations for those aged 65 and over

On Friday July 22nd two clinics will held at Monaghan Primary Care Centre, St Davnet’s Campus, Monaghan, H18 DE78.

The first clinic runs between 10.30am and 11am.

Vaccinations available :

Dose 1 and Dose 2 for those aged 5-11 years

The second clinic will run between 11.30am and 4pm.

Vaccinations available:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and booster vaccines for those aged 12 years and over
  • Second booster vaccinations for those aged 65 and over

Finally a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held in Smithboro Health Centre on Saturday July 23rd from 10 am to 12 noon.

Vaccinations available:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and booster vaccines for those aged 12 years and over
  • Second booster vaccinations for those aged 65 and over

Please note those aged 5-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Operational Manager, Cavan and Monaghan Covid-19 Vaccination Service, Paula Loughran said “Our pop-up vaccination teams will continue to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations across Cavan and Monaghan this summer. We would ask that those who are due their boosters would come to any of the venues in Cavan or Monaghan this week for their vaccinations.”

In addition, Mobile vaccination teams will continue to operate through the summer to deliver vaccinations to those who are homebound and to residents living in long term residential centres (LTRCs). 

ENDS

20/07/2022

Brendan Smith brands UK government immunity proposals on Troubles murders as ‘absolutely deplorable’ 

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has branded current British Government legislation on the legacy of the Troubles, which would allow murderers to give themselves immunity from prosecution, as “absolutely deplorable”.

Speaking with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in Dáil Eireann this week, Deputy Brendan Smith stated: “I hope that in his first opportunity to engage with Boris Johnson’s successor, the Taoiseach will prioritise legacy issues and remind the British Government strongly that it must take on board the concerns of victims and survivors.

“As all of us in this House know, the current British Government legislation would allow murderers to give themselves immunity from prosecution. It is absolutely deplorable.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “Of course, there is the total lack of co-operation by the British Government in regard to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the Belturbet bombing. It is deplorable that the government of a democratic country would not co-operate with a sovereign government and parliament in a neighbouring state where we know state forces were involved in the murder of innocent people.

In response, the Taoiseach stated: “Deputy Smith will be aware of my view that the proposals that emerged in terms of amnesties or qualified amnesties are unacceptable. The Deputy is correct in saying that the views of victims and the families of victims should be uppermost and paramount in any legacy policy or scheme. 

“I do not want to get involved in what is happening in the UK in regard to an election of a successor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Suffice to say that we would like this to be an opportunity for a resetting of relationships but also a return to adherence to the agreements that have been entered into between two sovereign states, between Europe and the UK, and in respect of legacy agreements that have been entered into by the families of victims, political parties in Northern Ireland and governments of the UK. In other words, what has been agreed should be adhered to unless we collectively agree to change.”

ENDS

14/07/2022

13th July 2022

HSE Media Release

Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo

Pop up COVID-19 vaccination clinics to be held across Cavan and Monaghan this week

Dose 1, Dose 2, first and second booster vaccinations will be available in a number of locations across Cavan and Monaghan this week.

In Monaghan, a walk-in vaccination clinic is being held at the New Primary Health Care Oriel Rd Carrickmacross  from 2pm to 5pm on Thursday July 14th.

Vaccines available are:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and Booster Doses for those aged 12 years and over.


A second clinic will be held at Monaghan Primary Care Centre, St Davnet’s Campus, Monaghan on Friday July 15th from 10.30am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 4pm.

Vaccines available are:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and Booster Doses will be available for those aged 12 years and over.

In Cavan COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held at Gowna Health Centre, Cavan on Wednesday July 13th and Thursday July 14th from 1pm to 4pm on both days.

Vaccines available are:

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and Booster Doses will be available for those aged 12 years and over.

On Friday July 15th two clinics will be held in Ballinagh Health Centre Cavan.

The first takes place between 1pm and 2pm and offers Dose 1 and Dose 2 vaccinations for those aged 5-11 years.

A second clinic will take place inBallinagh Health Centre from 2.30pm – 4pm offering

  • Dose 1, Dose 2 and Booster Doses for those aged 12 years and over.
  • 2nd booster for those aged 65 and over.

Paula Loughran, Operational Manager, Cavan and Monaghan Covid-19 Vaccination Service said “We are operating a number of pop up clinics across Cavan and Monaghan this week, to make getting your COVID-19 primary and booster vaccinations as accessible as possible. We would ask anyone who is due their booster vaccines to come along and avail of the service in any of the pop up clinics. Walk ins are welcome.”

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine please log on to www.hse.ie

Please note that those aged 5-15 years must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.

ENDS

13/07/2022

Gamechanger First Home Scheme can make homeownership a reality for first-time buyers – Brendan Smith 

Brand new €400 million First Home Scheme to Make Home Ownership a Reality for First-Time Buyers  

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has said the First Home Scheme can be a gamechanger for first-time buyers.  

The Fianna Fáil TD said, “The First Home Scheme has the potential to be a real gamechanger for those attempting to get on the property ladder.  

“First Home is a Government-backed shared equity scheme which will see the state provide part of the price of a new home alongside the buyer’s mortgage and deposit.  

“This can bridge the gap between the price of a home and the current maximum a person or couple can rent depending on their income.  

“The Help to Buy Scheme (HTB) can also be used alongside this scheme and could provide 20% of the price of the property going towards the buyer’s deposit.  

“The maximum stake the state can take as equity under the First Home Scheme is 30% without the HTB, and 20% if the HTB is being used.  

“The scheme is available to first-time buyers and also gives fresh start exceptions to those who may have previously purchased a property if they have separated or experienced insolvency.  

“Government are working under the Housing For All plan to make homeownership a reality for everyone and this scheme is proof of momentum building behind the Housing For All programme.”  


Applications can be made today online at www.firsthomescheme.ie. The First Home Scheme application process runs in parallel with the mortgage application process (i.e. mortgage applications should continue to be made separately through participating lenders).  

The scheme is available initially to First-Time Buyers and other qualifying homebuyers who are taking out mortgages from AIB (including its EBS and Haven Mortgages businesses), Bank of Ireland or Permanent TSB. Other lenders may join the scheme in the coming months. 

How the First Home Scheme works:

The scheme will increase the spending power of borrowers by facilitating them to pay more than the combined amount of their mortgage and deposit, which would otherwise act as a ceiling on what they can pay.  

This will increase the choice of home available to borrowers and allow them to buy a home at a higher price point than the maximum mortgage that they qualify for.  

The scheme is making €400 million available in its first phase, to facilitate the purchase of up to 8,000 homes over a 5-year period, subject to demand.  

Brendan Smith welcomes €100 increase on back-to-school allowance, suspension of school transport fees and an additional 60,000 school meals

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed a €100 increase on the current rates of back-to-school allowance. 

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I’m delighted to see this significant €100 increase in the back-to-school allowance for each eligible child. 

“The back-to-school allowance is an important payment to support parents and children as they prepare for their return to school. 

“In addition to this, the school meals programme will also be expanded which will see a further 60’000 children covered under the programme.”

The Cavan and Monaghan TD added: “Importantly, Government has also decided to suspend school transport fees for one year to help support parents which will see a saving of up to €500 for families. 

“Government is cognisant of the pressures facing people and Fianna Fáil are committed to finding solutions to alleviate those cost-of-living pressures. 

Brendan Smith: Everything needs to be done to ensure children with special needs have appropriate school placements

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has welcomed Government commitments to ensure that children with special needs have an appropriate school placement.

Depuy Brendan Smith, speaking in Dáil Eireann, commented, “The Minister for Education has brought forward legislation to put in place the structures to ensure no child is denied a place in an appropriate setting in school. I welcome the comments of the Minister of State that it is intended this legislation will work to support children with special educational needs to gain access to specialist class placements that can meet their needs.

“Having interacted over the years with the National Council for Special Education, NCSE, I welcome the recent appointment of the new chief executive, John Kearney, who I knew as chief executive of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board and who served as a school principal.” 

The Cavan and Monaghan TD continued: “I know that public representatives and Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board have worked together over the years to ensure we got those additional autism spectrum disorder, ASD, units, special classes and additional resources. Mr. Kearney has been in the classroom and has led an education and training board.

“The schools under the remit of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board show a great attachment to equality and diversity in their provision to ensure children who need that additional support are given it to the best extent possible. Over the years, we have seen a very significant growth in the number of units and special needs classes at different schools.”

Deputy Smith added: “I welcome the comments of the Minister for Education, Norma Foley that she, her Department, and the Minister of State, Deputy Madigan, “recognise the importance of inclusive education for all children”. She stated it is a primary objective of hers as Minister for Education “to promote and support actions that will ensure the school setting is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all”. She also stated that “providing for an appropriate school placement for every child with special educational needs in a timely and supported manner is a key priority for the Department and the National Council for Special Education”. It is very important that key priority and strategy is implemented.”