Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund

Since 2016 I have been continuously highlighting the adverse impacts that #Brexit will have on all of our country and particularly the border region. This welcome EU support must be targeted at areas like #Cavan and #Monaghan to support our local economy through these challenging times.

  • Below statement by Minister Coveney and Minister Byrne. Also below my speech in Dáil Éireann on 17th December regarding the adverse impacts Brexit will have on our country and particularly the border region.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney & Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne welcome allocation of €1.05 billion to Ireland from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D. and Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D. have warmly welcomed the Commission proposal for an allocation of over €1bn to Ireland from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, which was set up to help member states most affected by Britain’s departure from the EU.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney said:  

“I’m pleased that this proposal has been made on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The BAR is valued at a total of €5.4 billion, €4.2 billion in 2021 and €1.1 billion in 2024. Ireland’s proposed initial allocation for 2021 is €1.051 billion or 25% of the first tranche of the fund.

“My department and our permanent representative in Brussels have been relentless in maintaining the argument that allocation of this fund should reflect the countries most affected by Brexit. Once again I want to thank my team for what they have delivered here.  Once approved, the funds will go to my colleagues Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath to manage at cabinet level.  I hope the European Parliament and Council will now approve as we continue to work through Brexit.”

Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD said:

“I met virtually with Commissioner Johannes Hahn today where he informed me of this much anticipated news of an initial proposed allocation of over €1bn to Ireland and a further allocation in 2024. This funding from the Commission is much needed by the sectors and areas most negatively affected by Brexit.

“An Taoiseach Micheál Martin negotiated this fund at the European Council in July and Ministers and officials have worked tirelessly to ensure Ireland’s interests were protected. I look forward to the Commission’s proposal receiving support from all member states and the European Parliament.

Notes To Editor

Dáil Éireann debate –
Thursday, 17 Dec 2020

Brexit Readiness for the End of the Transition Period: Statements

Deputy Brendan Smith

The Minister for Foreign Affairs said in his introductory remarks that Britain will be outside the European Union, the Single Market and the customs union from 1 January next, which is only two weeks away. How we trade with Britain will be dramatically different, therefore. Even if a free trade agreement is concluded between the European Union and Britain, there will be significant and enduring change. It is vital, as previous speakers have all said, that all businesses, regardless of their size and be they small, medium or large, need to focus on Brexit readiness, as things will simply not be the same.

The Minister gave a sombre message on the Government’s concerns about the lack of preparedness, particularly with small and medium enterprises. Being prepared is critical and essential. We know that without preparation, there is the real risk of delays and a loss of income, which would be damaging for any business or enterprise. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for businesses and enterprises to be ready. There is and has been for a considerable length of time, substantial Government help available, especially the Brexit readiness checker, which shows exactly what businesses need to do.

The budget for 2021, which was passed in this House some weeks ago, allocated substantial resources to confront the twin challenges we face at this particular time, that is, the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. The figure the Minister quoted was €340 million to be spent on Brexit-related measures and that is welcome. The Government has also provided a recovery fund to assist businesses in the aftermath of Covid-19 and Brexit. It is extremely important that we remain committed to protecting and strengthening the British-Irish trading relationship following Brexit. Britain has always been and will continue to be an important market for Ireland. What is often left out of the narrative and commentary is the extremely important market we are for Britain as well. That cannot be emphasised enough by the Government.

I have had the privilege of representing two Border constituencies over a considerable period of time. I was a public representative for Cavan-Monaghan prior to the Good Friday Agreement and I am glad to be one since the Good Friday Agreement as well. I am conscious of the benefits that all of this island derived from the Good Friday Agreement, particularly in my region and in the Border region in general. We have thankfully seen the development of the all-Ireland economy. We have seen businesses develop, grow and be established on an all-Ireland basis. We have seen the interdependence of the economies, North and South, and that has been tremendously important in providing job opportunities, particularly for the areas that suffered so much due to the Troubles over that prolonged period of time.

When the Brexit referendum took place in 2016, Deputy Howlin and the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, referred to the fact that our parliamentary system responded with one voice and message to our fellow member states in the European Union. It was good parliamentary work, regardless of who was in government. We were in opposition for most of that time and we gave strong support to the Government in its efforts to win support over from other member states. I was Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence in the last Dáil and I had the opportunity to invite our counterpart committees from other member states of the European Union to come here, visit the Border region and see at first hand that we did not have a border but that we moved seamlessly North and South and South and North.

Those parliamentary groups who came here met local entrepreneurs and community and civic leaders and got a clear message that we did not want a border reimposed on our island. They got the clear message that, as communities, we appreciate the significant progress that has been made and that we were not going back to the era that we suffered so much through during that long period from the late 1960s up until 1998. Deputy Howlin, the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, and the Minister, Deputy Coveney, referred to the work of Mr. Michel Barnier. In his knowledge and interest in our country, Mr. Barnier is to be credited in every discussion we have on Brexit. I know that from working with Mr. Barnier in the Council of Ministers in the past.

The Minister, Deputy Coveney, gave a clear but sombre message about what lies ahead of us. The Minister referred, in particular, to his concerns at the preparation of small and medium-sized enterprises. Small and medium-sized enterprises are more important to the less developed parts of our economy than to the more developed areas economically. Professor Edgar Morgenroth, either for the Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI, or for Dublin City University, did an exceptional piece of work on the projected regional impact of Brexit. It showed clearly the adverse impact that Brexit would have on my region and on the Border region in general. Because of our dependence on agrifood, construction products and the engineering sector, there was a marked difference between the impact that Brexit would have on Cavan-Monaghan and the Border in comparison with south Dublin. Our economy is more dependent on the small and medium-sized enterprises than the east coast in general. It shows clearly the need for assistance to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

Despite many challenges that our businesses and enterprises faced over the years, many of them, thankfully, have grown from one- and two-person businesses to be small medium-sized enterprises, and some of them from my own counties of Cavan and Monaghan have grown from one- and two-person operations to become international corporations today. They deserve great credit.

Many of the companies that are providing such valuable employment in areas such as Cavan and Monaghan are totally dependent on the road network, because we do not have a rail network, to export their finished product to the ports and airports, or to bring in raw materials for their enterprises. We are talking about Brexit preparedness and readiness. One other narrative that we need to get on to next is to support enterprises post-Brexit. I would argue that the infrastructural needs of that region or regions that will be most adversely impacted have to be prioritised for investment. We are all aware that if there is poor infrastructure, businesses face additional costs, and if we are to try to assist businesses to remain competitive following Brexit we have to ensure the infrastructure is brought up to a very good standard to assist those enterprises. I am talking about the road network. I am talking about broadband. I am also talking about investment in human capital. There is great scope and potential there for more investment in education and training on a cross-Border, all-island basis. That was provided for in the Good Friday Agreement. It was provided for that we would go towards all-island structures in the areas of education, health, trade and enterprise. Brexit should give an impetus that we drive forward that agenda and we support those businesses at the coalface of Brexit.

I instanced in this House on many occasions some of the enterprises in my own immediate area. They are sited both sides of the Border. There may be part manufacturing or part assembly in Fermanagh and other part assembly or part manufacturing in Cavan. Those activities of manufacturing and assembly plants are all interdependent and we know the difficulties that will arise should there be customs procedures or additional customs costs imposed on those enterprises. We have to ensure that every possible assistance is given to help those enterprises remain competitive.

I welcome the fact that the shared island initiative that has been announced by the Taoiseach and is included in the programme for Government, will assist in developing cross-Border, all-island projects. There is great scope there. I repeat it is very important that we improve the infrastructure in the Border region. In particular, I am thinking of roads. We need that investment. Alongside the investment in improving the infrastructure, Government needs to give business and enterprises that face particular challenges now, and that are providing worthwhile employment, a clear message that they will be supported through these very challenging times.

Another issue that I mentioned here yesterday in the post-European Council statements was the need to ensure that we have the EU cross border healthcare directive still applicable for patients from the State seeking to access health services in Northern Ireland and-or in Britain.

An area that has not got much attention, to my knowledge, in this debate is the area of criminality and the problems that different trade zones and different taxation regimes, etc., lend to smuggling and criminality. Some people have spoken to me who have a particular knowledge and understanding, and who are concerned about the criminal world. We have had enough criminality associated with the Border over the years. We have to try to ensure that the home-grown criminals, smugglers and thugs do not get a fresh lease of life. Many of those dangerous gangs are linked up with similar dangerous gangs in Europe and we do not want to become a trafficking place for those people to abuse and use people. It is important, given the unique policing demands of the Border region, that An Garda Síochána and the other security forces – the Minister has responsibility for defence – are adequately resourced to deal with any outfall from the new position that we will find ourselves in.

The first meeting of an Oireachtas committee post the Brexit referendum in 2016 was the then Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence. I mentioned at that committee that that referendum result and that vote really knocked the stuffing out of communities in the Border area because we had gone from living in the troubled times to the much better era post-Good Friday Agreement, and of course, we all thought of borders arising again. Thankfully, that will not happen. This is the last opportunity we will have in the Oireachtas to speak before Brexit actually happens. I compliment the Minister and all his colleagues in the Government, and particularly the officials in Departments and other statutory agencies who have been exemplary in getting a very clear message across to their counterparts throughout the European Union about the need to protect the interests of our island.

Surveying for National Broadband Plan continues across Cavan and Monaghan

Transmitter wi-fi on white background (done in 3d)

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company rolling out the new high speed fibre broadband network under the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) today announced that surveying works in several areas of Cavan are well underway.

Surveying

NBI contractors have been on the ground across the country for eight months and over 150,000 premises nationwide have been surveyed to date. This involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area.  This will enable network design solutions for the provision of a fibre network to every premises in the Intervention Area – a map of over 544,000 premises nationwide identified by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication (DECC) – as not being served with adequate broadband speeds.

Cavan

In Cavan, there are 16,242 premises in the Intervention Area (IA), which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates to 38% of all premises in the county. Under the National Broadband Plan, Cavan will see an investment of €65M in the new high speed fibre network. This will enable e-learning, remote monitoring of livestock or equipment, e-health initiatives, better energy efficiency in the home, and facilitate increased levels of remote working.

NBI crews have made substantial progress in Cavan, the following areas are being surveyed: Ballylennon, Redhills, Gannons Cross, Derryheelan, Castlesaunderson, Townparks, Foalies Bridge, Riverrun and Erne Hill.

In September 2020, NBI crews started initial works for the build in townlands outside Cavan town. These initial works pave the way for the next stage of deploying fibre on poles/ducts and includes the erection of poles, unblocking of ducts, and the insertion of sub duct into existing ducts, for the fibre to be installed.

All NBI contractors will also carry official ID cards and essential worker letters, and have received training on adhering to all Covid 19 guidelines. They will have vehicles, PPE and signage with both their own, and NBI logos.

Broadband Connection Points (BCPs)

In advance of the fibre to the home roll out, the NBP provides for the delivery of BCPs nationwide. Over 60 of these sites are now ‘live’ and have both internal and external broadband access. These facilities – which include GAA clubs, community centres and tourist sites – will provide free public access to high speed internet in the rollout area.

These will pave the way for rural communities to receive the benefits of broadband, from mobile working, e-learning and mobile banking, to digital tourism. A full list can be found at /bcp-map/ Primary schools in the Intervention Area are also being connected for educational access as part of the NBP. Locations of Broadband Connection Points in county Cavan will include Castle Saunderson Scout Centre, Kildallan Parish Hall, Bunnoe Community Centre, and Templeport Community Centre.

Progress on the ground

NBI chief executive Peter Hendrick said the company was pleased with the progress being made: “We started physical work on the ground last January and I am delighted to report that this is going very well. We are acutely aware that people want access to high speed broadband as soon as possible, and our goal is to deliver that.

“Survey designs are an important part of mapping out how every home and business will be connected, and these will provide the blueprint for how the NBI fibre is laid. The BCPs are a key milestone in delivering access to high speed internet in the Intervention Area, and we’re delighted to see these being connected for access – internally and externally – right across the county.”

NBI’s website www.nbi.ie has a search tool to enable the public to check whether their premises is within the rollout area, and to show indicative dates for areas being surveyed. There is also a facility to register for updates on this. Detailed designs for the fibre area network are drawn up following these surveys. The network build has started in parts of Cavan, Cork, Galway and Limerick, and some connections are expected by the end of this year. NBI’s contact centre can be reached at 0818 624 624 (lo-call) or contactus@nbi.ie

Surveying for National Broadband Plan continues across Monaghan

National Broadband Ireland (NBI), the company rolling out the new high speed fibre broadband network under the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) today announced that surveying works in several areas of Monaghan are well underway.

Surveying

NBI contractors have been on the ground across the country for eight months and over 150,000 premises nationwide have been surveyed to date. This involves physically walking the routes and documenting images, notes and measurements of the poles, cables and underground ducts in each area.  This will enable network design solutions for the provision of a fibre network to every premises in the Intervention Area – a map of over 544,000 premises nationwide identified by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication (DECC) – as not being served with adequate broadband speeds.

Monaghan

In Monaghan, there are 15,282 premises in the Intervention Area (IA), which includes homes, farms, commercial businesses and schools. This equates to 46% of all premises in the county. Under the National Broadband Plan, Monaghan will see an investment of €60M in the new high speed fibre network. This will enable e-learning, remote monitoring of livestock or equipment, e-health initiatives, better energy efficiency in the home, and facilitate increased levels of remote working.

The following areas in Monaghan are being surveyed: Drumcru, Stonebridge, Tiernahinch, Clones, Annalore, Kileevan, Drumullan, Newbliss, Cumber, Scotshouse, Clonowla, Clonagore and Clonooney.

All NBI contractors will also carry official ID cards and essential worker letters, and have received training on adhering to all Covid 19 guidelines. They will have vehicles, PPE and signage with both their own, and NBI logos.

Broadband Connection Points (BCPs)

In advance of the fibre to the home roll out, the NBP provides for the delivery of BCPs nationwide. Over 60 of these sites are now ‘live’ and have both internal and external broadband access. These facilities – which include GAA clubs, community centres and tourist sites – will provide free public access to high speed internet in the rollout area.

These will pave the way for rural communities to receive the benefits of broadband, from mobile working, e-learning and mobile banking, to digital tourism. A full list can be found at /bcp-map/ Primary schools in the Intervention Area are also being connected for educational access as part of the NBP. Locations of Broadband Connection Points in county Monaghan will include Connons Community Hall, Carn Resource Centre, Tannagh Outdoor Education Centre, and Corcaghan Community Centre.

Progress on the ground

NBI chief executive Peter Hendrick said the company was pleased with the progress being made: “We started physical work on the ground last January and I am delighted to report that this is going very well. We are acutely aware that people want access to high speed broadband as soon as possible, and our goal is to deliver that.

“Survey designs are an important part of mapping out how every home and business will be connected, and these will provide the blueprint for how the NBI fibre is laid. The BCPs are a key milestone in delivering access to high speed internet in the Intervention Area, and we’re delighted to see these being connected for access – internally and externally – right across the county.”

NBI’s website www.nbi.ie has a search tool to enable the public to check whether their premises is within the rollout area, and to show indicative dates for areas being surveyed. There is also a facility to register for updates on this. Detailed designs for the fibre area network are drawn up following these surveys. The network build has started in parts of Cavan, Cork, Galway and Limerick, and some connections are expected by the end of this year. NBI’s contact centre can be reached at 0818 624 624 (lo-call) or contactus@nbi.ie

Una McBarron is the first person in Cavan, Residential Services for Older Persons to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID19 vaccine

Una McBarron, 102 year old, female from Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan has become the first person in residential services for Older People in Community Heatlhcare Organisation Area 1 (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan and Sligo) to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Una’s vaccine was the first Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be administered by vaccinators at Breffni Care Centre, Ballyconnell, Cavan.

Una said, “I’m happy to receive the vaccine today. It is a privilege to have it. I want to thank all of the staff in Breffni for looking after us so well and keeping us safe from this virus”.

Una was given a HSE vaccine information leaflet, along with more detailed manufacturer’s patient information leaflet, before getting the vaccine. Afterwards, each person vaccinated was given a vaccine record card, showing the name and batch of the vaccine they have received. Residents and Staff will each return for their second dose, to be fully protected, in three weeks.

Rae Ann Pasco, Senior Enhanced Nurse at Breffni Care Centre became the first Healthcare Worker in CHO 1 to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  Rae Ann said “This is an important day in our fight against Covid-19.  I am happy to be receiving this vaccine and wish to encourage all those who are invited to get the vaccine to take it”.

John Hayes, Chief Officer of CHO 1 said: “This is a day of hope for a better future. It is a good day for the residents and staff of Breffni Care Centre and we are delighted that we can start rolling out the vaccine for our community. I would particularly like to thank all of the healthcare workers in CHO 1 who worked tirelessly to make this day possible. I would also like to thank healthcare staff who have worked so hard at the frontline over the past year to protect our community from Covid-19 and support those who were impacted by this deadly virus. While today does offer us hope, it is important that we continue to adhere with the public health guidelines to keep safe while the vaccine is being rolled out over the coming weeks and months. It is important to remember that by wearing a face covering, maintaining physical distancing and practising good hand hygiene, you’re supporting frontline workers to maintain essential health services for the people of CHO 1”.

Loida Aragon, Assistant Director of Nursing at Breffni Care Centre said “This is a great day for Una McBarron and her family and all our residents and staff. Since March 1st 2020 our residents and their families and staff have been living in fear and preparing for all the worst case scenarios that Covid 19 could bring to our door, they have been separated from their loved ones for almost a year and they have paid a heavy price, we are proud to say that due to the fantastic efforts of our team here in Breffni Care Centre we have so far managed to keep COVID-19 outside the door. Now as we vaccinate today, we start to build the wall of protection for our residents and staff and we look forward to 2021”.

Worldwide, vaccines save at least 2-3 million lives each year – and protect many more from crippling and lifelong illnesses. Only COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorised by the European Medicines Agency, having met stringent safety and effectiveness standards, will be used in Ireland. All COVID-19 vaccines will be carefully monitored over time and updated safety data and information will be published and shared by the HSE, on our website and in our printed information materials.

Everyone can find factual, up-to-date information, based on scientific evidence on:
www.hse.ie/covid19vaccine
www.gov.ie/covid19vaccine
www.hpra.ie
www.who.int

ENDS

Photo Captions:

Photo 1:  Una McBarron, 102 year old, from Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, receiving Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine from Grainne Gillece at Breffni Care Centre.

View video of vaccine being given here:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1347198138017345538

Photo 2: Rae Ann Pasco, Senior Enhanced Nurse at Breffni Care Centre receiving the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine from Helen O’Reilly at Breffni Care Centre.

View video of vaccine being given here:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1347199200682008576

Notes for Editors:

About the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The COVID-19 vaccine offers people protection from COVID-19, and getting a COVID-19 vaccine should also protect people from the serious complications of COVID-19. Our aim in offering the vaccine to the population is to protect people and reduce the illness and deaths caused by this virus.

·        The first delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine was received by the HSE on December 26th, and the vaccination programme began on December 30th.  Based on advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, NIAC, our first limited stock were given to people in hospital settings, where medical teams can be on call on site.

·        From January 4th, the programme is being rolled out to long term residential care facilities for older people. This will be aligned with further and ongoing deliveries of the vaccine, over a 6 week rolling programme throughout all 582 nursing homes, public and private, all over the country. Our vaccinator teams will be giving vaccines at each of those locations, making 2 separate visits, 3 weeks apart.

·        In the later phases of the programme that will focus on the next priority groups, people may be vaccinated through mass vaccination clinics, GP surgeries and community pharmacies. This will be done by qualified and trained healthcare workers, including hospital doctors, community medical officers, nurses, GPs and pharmacists. More information will be given about the later phases when they have been agreed and implemented.

·        Ireland has approximately 580 nursing homes, 80% of which are privately owned, and the vaccination of their residents is a highly complex process requiring the cooperation of all stakeholders.

·        Each CHO is working with their local nursing home providers to finalise their schedules. This requires each provider to assure themselves that they can register each staff member and resident who wishes to take the vaccine and collect the required 55 individual pieces of information on each person who wishes to be vaccinated several days before the vaccination team is due to arrive.

·        Each provider must also ensure that each staff member and each resident (and their families where appropriate) understand and give informed consent to the vaccine.

·        The target completion date for all 580 Public, Private and Voluntary Nursing Homes is February 28th next, bearing in mind that COVID outbreaks may interrupt vaccination.

·        The HSE has commenced an information programme all about the vaccine, starting with printed and online information for the first priority groups being offered the vaccine, along with national and regional radio advertising, and social media advertising on a range of platforms.

·        Our information covers the topics that people told us were most important to them – when the vaccine will be available, who is in the priority groups, safety and long-term side effects, and how effective the vaccine is. You can find our vaccine information materials and other details at www.hse.ie/covid19vaccine, and through our social media accounts.

We encourage everyone in Ireland to read more about the COVID-19 vaccine and to get their information from a factual, trusted source, like the HSE, Gov.ie, the HPRA or the World Health Organisation

Brendan Smith calls on Minister to increase school bus capacity immediately

Fianna Fail TD for Cavan/Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Education to increase school bus capacity immediately to help cope with the large number of students unable to access transport due to much reduced capacity in recent months. 

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “I called upon the Minister to make a statement on this issue and to increase school bus capacity in the 2020-2021 school year, so that those students who have been unable to access transport due to restrictions and reduced resources, can be accommodated.” 

In response, the Minister for Education stated that all children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year where such services are in operation. The closing date for payment for the 2020/2021 school year was Tuesday 4th August 2020. 

The Minister’s statement added: “Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated.  Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.” 

The Minister explained that due to NPHET advice in August, which advised reduced capacity on post-primary services to 50% of passenger capacity, the Government agreed to provide the necessary funding to ensure that full implementation of this public health recommendation is achieved as quickly as possible. 

The Minister’s statement concluded: “As the additional capacity is rolled out, where spare capacity is created, further tickets will be allocated to those children eligible for the scheme who have paid late and for other applicants seeking concessionary tickets.” 

School Transport – Thursday, 17 Dec 2020 – Parliamentary Questions (33rd Dáil) – Houses of the Oireachtas

Ballyjamesduff Fire Station

I welcome the decision of my Fianna Fáil colleague, Minister Darragh O’Brien to include a new Fire Station in Ballyjamesduff in his Department’s Fire Services construction programme for 2021.

I am glad to have supported the work of Cavan County Council in bringing this much needed project to this stage.

All the personnel in our Emergency Services need proper facilities and this new station will be a welcome addition to our county’s fire services facilities.

Ends 29/12/20

Funding of €1.5 Million to projects in Cavan and Monaghan under the

Town and Village Renewal Scheme – Brendan Smith TD

I welcome this government funding which will benefit 14 towns and villages in Cavan and Monaghan and will fund a wide and diverse range of projects.   Walkways, community parks, the regeneration of derelict buildings and enhancement works at tourism attractions and the development of local amenities are deserving of this funding and will contribute to necessary local community development.

I compliment Cavan and Monaghan Councils and local community groups who have all worked to develop these projects” stated Brendan Smith TD.

Project Approvals – 2020 Standard Town & Village Renewal Scheme  
CountyTown or VillageProject SynopsisGrant funding Approved
CavanBallyjamesduffConnecting the Nun’s walk biodiversity corridor at the Museum to the Town Centre.€100,000
CavanBelturbetDevelopment of services block at Belturbet marina and phase 2 extension of Belturbet Youth Hub.€199,800
    Cavan    Arva    Enhancement works to bus shelter, murals and facade painting; resurfacing of car park around the Market House.    €54,727
CavanBailieboroughUpgrade of lakeside public amenity facilities, including an education facility, nature reserve, public amenity and recreation space.€100,000
CavanShercockUpgrade the town environment through the installation of outdoor seating, a sculpture, bus shelter, lanterns And landscaping.€49,548
CavanVirginiaDevelopment of the lakeshore area and the provision of a footpath to link the lakeshore to the town centre.€100,000
CavanCootehillImprove the accessibility for pedestrians in strategic locations and town enhancement through the painting of facades.€100,000
Cavan Total€704,075
MonaghanCarrickmacrossPublic amenity enhancements including provision of dog walking park, two biodiversity garden parks, the provision of seating and landscaping.€98,261
MonaghanClontibretInstallation of footpath and public lighting.€81,315
MonaghanDoohamletPublic realm enhancement including, upgrade of carpark, provision of street lighting, upgrade of footpath and resurface gravel paths in the community park.€100,000
MonaghanEmyvalePublic realm enhancement works including undergrounding of overhead cables and upgrading of footpath with LED public lighting columns.€200,000
MonaghanLattonThe provision of new footpath and public lighting.€100,000
MonaghanClonesPublic realm enhancement including diversion of cabling, new heritage public lighting standards, pedestrian prioritisation and car park upgrade.€200,000
MonaghanInniskeenTo implement a Bike Rental Scheme to operate from the Patrick Kavanagh Centre.€26,967
Monaghan Total€806,543

Vaccine roll – out

The Covid-19 vaccine is here and the HSE are starting its roll out across the country.

Frontline healthcare workers and people over 65 living in long-term care facilities are most at risk, so they will be offered a vaccine first. Other groups will be offered a vaccine as it becomes available.

Right now, we still need to keep our distance, wash our hands and do everything we can to protect each other from Covid-19.

Visit https://bit.ly/3o0PKaC

#KeepYourDistance #WashYourHands #InThisTogether

Reopening of Bawnboy Garda Station – Smith

Following further representations I have been informed by the Minister of State that the OPW will advertise their Part 9 planning application for Bawnboy Garda Station next week.

This project will consist of refurbishment  and fit-out works in the Garda Station in Bawnboy.  It is one of six Garda Stations that will reopened under a Pilot Scheme.

Belturbet Bombing December 1972

Below is a reply by the Minister for Justice to the most recent Parliamentary Question I tabled in Dáil Éireann regarding the bombing in Belturbet in December 1972.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 15/12/2020
Question Number(s): 464 Question Reference(s): 43504/20
Department: Justice
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question No. 8 of 10 September 2020, if she will ensure further investigations are carried out into the Belturbet bombing of December 1972 following the submission of a report to her Department (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) (Details supplied – Report by Edward Burke of Nottingham University and forwarded by Deputy Brendan Smith to the Minister for Justice on 10th September 2020).

REPLY


I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. I know that he has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the families for many years and, of course,  I am in full agreement with him that the perpetrators of this atrocity should be brought to justice.

The bombing of Belturbet on 28 December 1972 was an appalling and callous act of violence that claimed the lives of two innocent young people and injured others. The pain and anguish caused was very evident in the RTE Investigates programme last night as family members recalled the events that took their loved ones away.  

The dreadful effects of this attack last to this day; the suffering of those who have lost what was most precious to them goes on. That the perpetrators of this atrocity have never been held accountable for their crimes can only compound the sense of loss.

My deepest sympathies go out to the bereaved and injured and it is my firm desire that the perpetrators will face justice and the families find the answers they seek.  

As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Authorities have previously advised that the bombing and the murders were comprehensively investigated by An Garda Síochána at the time. The Defence Forces provided expert assistance and the investigation involved close liaison with the authorities in Northern Ireland. Despite every avenue of enquiry being pursued at the time there was insufficient evidence to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

The investigation into the bombing and the two murders has not been closed and An Garda Síochána will pursue any new evidence or information that is made available. An Garda Síochána would, of course, work in close co-operation with the PSNI where that could advance the investigation.

Following the Debate in the House in September, I arranged for a copy of the academic article referred to by Deputy Smith, which concerned inter alia the Belturbet Bombing and information on a potential suspect, to be forwarded to the Garda authorities for attention.

I have also requested an update from the Garda authorities on the investigation.

Most importantly, I appeal for anybody with any information that may be relevant to this case, even after nearly 50 years, to bring it to the attention of the Garda Authorities to aid their investigation.

New Garda District Headquarters Bailieborough

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith welcomes the confirmation from Minister of State O’Donovan that the Office of Public Works has received the necessary approval from An Garda Síochána to issue tender documents for the construction of Bailieborough Garda Station.

“This will enable tenders to be issued to the pre- qualified list of contractors for the construction of the Garda Station. Tenders will be returned early in 2021 for assessment and detailed consideration and it is expected that the preferred tenderer will be appointed within a short timeframe.

This new accommodation will be a welcome development providing modern facilities for Members of An Garda Síochána serving the Bailieborough District” stated Brendan Smith TD.