Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has welcomed the allocation of government funding for the Leader Programme.
“Funding of €2.5 million has been allocated to Cavan and €2.24 million for Monaghan. LEADER funding represents an opportunity for rural businesses and communities that are in need of investment. There is a need for this programme to continue and it has made a real difference for rural Ireland. Over the years both Cavan and Monaghan have had successful Leader Programmes.
Decisions are made at local level and right throughout both counties community groups have been able to drawdown, along with statutory agencies, substantial investment which has improved considerably local infrastructure including facilities for local residents and also the development of tourism attractions. It has also been key to the development of many parish resource and community centres.
This new programme is now open for applications and communities and local enterprises who wish to apply for funding should make contact with their Local Development Company to discuss how the LEADER Programme can assist their plans. I wish both Cavan and Monaghan Local Action Groups continued success with their important work in delivering the Leader Programme”, stated Deputy Brendan Smith.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith is calling on individual tourism and hospitality businesses to avail of the new €17m Outdoor Dining Scheme in partnership with local authorities.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme comprises two parts and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Local Authorities across the country.
Part One of the Scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity.
Funding allocated under Part Two will enable Local Authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities.
Deputy Smith commented, “The aim of this scheme is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.
“This scheme will help create outdoor dining experiences around our towns and villages that not only benefit locals but are also attractive to domestic and overseas visitors when the sector re-opens.”
Speaking today, Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, added: “I want to thank Minister Martin for securing this funding and the CCMA for its support with designing and administering it. Part One of the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme relates to Outdoor Seating and Accessories to help tourism and hospitality businesses offset some of the costs incurred in upgrading premises for outdoor dining and seating.
“Part Two of the Scheme relates to Weatherproofing and Outdoor Dining Infrastructure which focuses on the development of medium to large scale permanent public dining spaces in towns and centres in preparation for welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so. Each Local Authority can apply for up to €200,000 under this element of the scheme. We have been working closely with the County and City Management Association (CCMA) on behalf of the Local Authorities to design a scheme that will be efficient and practical. We look forward to seeing the results across the country.”
Note for Editor:
Part One of the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme covers Outdoor Seating and Accessories.
This is open to individual tourism and hospitality businesses including hotels, cafes, restaurants and attractions where food is sold for consumption on the premises. Local Authorities will administer the Scheme through their internal business perspective and processes. All applicants will be required to comply with planning codes, legislative and other compliance requirements. The Scheme aims to expand on the work done in 2020 by Local Authorities in supporting businesses and will support individual independent hospitality and tourism businesses towards the cost of equipment to provide additional outdoor seating and facilitate these businesses to increase their outdoor dining capacity for the summer of 2021. Applicants can apply for a grant of up to €4,000 (up to 75% of the ex-VAT cost of equipment purchased/installed). Costs for outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas, electric heaters, screens/windbreaks, plant stands and wooden platforms will be covered under the Scheme. Expenditure must be incurred between 1st April 2020 and 30th September 2021 and the scheme will open for applications on April 12th 2021 through Local Authority websites.
Part Two of the Schemecovers Weatherproofing & Outdoor Dining Infrastructure.
This will support Local Authorities to upgrade and enhance streets and public spaces and implement weather-proofing solutions which will facilitate year-round outdoor dining in urban tourism centres. This element of the Scheme will facilitate medium-large scale, weather-proofed dining areas for a collective of businesses in a single zone/street, similar to those that exist in various European cities. Each Local Authority can apply for up to €200,000 for a maximum of 2 locations. Additional funding may be made available subject to the quality and economic value of the proposals. Permanent robust and design appropriate weatherproofing structures, including parasols, electric heaters, wind breakers/screens and associated enabling works to accommodate these interventions on a long-term basis will be included. Roof structures and awnings will be considered subject to planning requirements being adhered to. Key is that these remedial works will increase the outdoor dining capacity within our cities and towns, whilst also ensuring the safety of diner and pedestrians.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has welcomed the publication of the Government’s “Our Rural Future” strategy that looks to transform and develop rural Ireland.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “The Our Rural Future plan is the most ambitious and transformational policy for rural regional development in decades. It will see the targeted revitalisation of Rural Ireland within 5 years.
“We have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has presented changes to living and working patterns and the significant opportunities this presents for communities across Cavan and Monaghan. This policy reflects those opportunities, from remote working and revitalising our town centres to job creation, developing a green economy and enhancing our outdoor amenities.
“Putting communities first is a priority for Fianna Fáil in government and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this policy will have on communities across Ireland.”
Deputy Smith outlined some of the key investments being undertaken to maximise investment and meet the long-term needs of villages and towns:
€2.7 billion in the delivery of high-speed broadband to rural areas.
€1 billion under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to support ambitious projects to regenerate towns and settlements of less than 10,000 people.
€100m for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme – addressing vacant properties and encouraging more people to live in our town centres.
Over €72m in 2021 for high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure targeted at towns and villages across the country.
400 IDA investments for the regions
19 Advance Technology Buildings in regional locations by the IDA
Significant investment will be made in remote working facilities, building on more than €50 million invested in the last five years by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
€555m for the maintenance and renewal of the regional and local roads network in 2021 alone.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed funding of €435,000 for Cavan Monaghan ETB, which has been announced today.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Under this funding programme, Cavan Monaghan ETB will be in a position to make decisions around small-scale Further Education Training (FET) investment priorities locally, and to ensure that projects can be advanced quickly and efficiently.
“The grant also allows Cavan Monaghan ETB an opportunity to consider future accommodation needs and to procure professional expertise to conduct condition surveys of existing buildings, with a view to a strategic approach to estate planning and development.
“In addition, funding has been provided for the introduction of an emergency health and safety works programme and further detail will be announced in the coming days.”
The investment announced today of just over €8 million nationally forms part of Project Ireland 2040 and will be provided via SOLAS for the delivery of small-scale and necessary infrastructure and improvement works, and for the purchase of equipment.
Fianna Fáil colleague and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins added: “The current National Development Plan, part of Project Ireland 2040, provided a dedicated capital envelope for the FET sector for the first time.
“The Devolved Capital Allocation is a priority investment within this context because it assists the ETBs to carry out minor infrastructural improvement works, make small but important improvements across their estates, and to procure equipment, including ICT equipment. I am confident that these measures will support an enhanced learning environment within the sector.”
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith has called on the European Commission to provide clear answers on a range of issues relating to the vaccine rollout, including details on deals made with pharmaceutical companies.
Speaking in the Dáil, ahead of a meeting of the European Council this week, Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “The European Commission has questions to answer at the highest level. When did it commence its purchasing and procurement programme and what is its strategy? Why were agreements to deliver to the EU first not made with pharmaceutical companies?
“Some of these companies have shown very bad faith in the way in which they have dealt with Europe so far. Another question which needs to be answered or addressed is whether the EU has facilitated or, more importantly, ensured increased manufacturing capacity for these pharmaceutical products? Everything points to the world facing different variants of this virus for some time to come. We need short-term and medium-term planning to deal with Covid-19.”
Deputy Smith stated that EU citizens deserve to get their “fair share of vaccines”.
He explained: “The EU cannot be accused of vaccine nationalism while it has allowed massive exports of vaccines to outside countries. Indeed, it is preferable and essential to ensure the EU gets at least its fair share of vaccines. I fully appreciate that, as the Taoiseach has said, supply chains have to be protected. I do not believe in trade disruption.
“Nobody benefits from it and the most vulnerable suffer the most. However, I also believe that we, as EU citizens, need to get the best possible protection from this deadly virus. We therefore need our leaders at EU level to ensure an adequate supply of vaccine and that the vaccine programme is given impetus and is rolled out more quickly. All of us have spoken to constituents who have had the vaccine administered to them. We have seen how much it has changed their lives and outlooks.”
Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith welcomes the allocation of €2,310,000 Million to Cavan County Council and €3,985,620 to Monaghan County Council to develop high quality walking and cycling facilities.
This funding, allocated by the Minister for Transport, will also enable an extensive programme of footpath repairs and also the implementation of safety measures at a number of locations.
This is a significant investment in developing travel facilities in rural Ireland.
Fianna Fáil TD and Chair of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly, Brendan Smith has stated that it is “absolutely essential” that the all-island economy is protected post-Brexit.
Speaking in the Dáil, ahead of a meeting of the European Commission this week, in which it is expected there will be discussions with US President Joe Biden on EU-US relationships, Deputy Smith commented, “It is absolutely essential the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland is implemented in a practical manner and there is partnership with Britain to ensure the difficulties that exist are ironed out in a practical manner.”
The Cavan Monaghan TD added: “Trade disruption in Northern Ireland means trade disruption throughout all of the island. We need to protect the all-Ireland economy. It is essential the Northern Ireland protocol is dealt with in a practical way and those problems are eliminated.”
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed the launch of a new Regional Skills Information Campaign.
The campaign is aimed at businesses of all sizes and offers a range of services and supports available across the education and training system and a structure for employers to become more involved in promoting employment roles and opportunities for career progression in their sectors.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Skills Northeast is one of the nine Regional Skills Fora and covers Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. As we have all seen, COVID-19 has had a serious impact on employers throughout the country.
“The Regional Skills Fora work with enterprise to identify immediate, new and emerging skills needs and work with further education and training providers to help people reskill and to best position themselves for our post COVID-19 economy.”
Deputy Smith added: “The Fora have already helped thousands of businesses across the country. They are there to assist, free of charge – please take advantage of it.”
The network of Regional Skills Fora is in place to help businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to be prepared and have the necessary skills for the challenges ahead. Whether it’s identifying the skills gaps in a business, upskilling, or accessing Government funding, Regional Skills helps to facilitate and future-proof companies nationwide.
With nine Regional Skills managers across the country, employers can be assured that they can access the necessary expertise from a professional who is familiar with the business landscape on both a local and national level. Regional Skills can also help businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 and guide them to education and training providers and government supports.
They are guided by, and work closely with, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and with the National Skills Council, to ensure that skills challenges, and responses to them, are addressed coherently and comprehensively.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed confirmation that, on a 12-month interim basis, people with a terminal illness who have unfortunately received a prognosis of 24 months will be awarded a medical card.
Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Having asked the Minister for Heath if arrangements have been put in place to expand access to medical cards, making them available to all who are terminally ill and have a prognosis of up to 24-months, I have been informed that an interim arrangement for 12 months will make this possible, with legislative options being developed to extend discretionary medical cards to those with a terminal illness.”
The Cavan/Monaghan TD added: “I have also been informed that these applications will not require a means assessment, nor will they be reassessed. The Department of Health stated that it has been actively engaging with the HSE’s National Medical Card Unit to ensure all necessary processes and communications to operationalise the scheme are in place very shortly.”
In relation to the current processing times of applications, the HSE has a system in place for the efficient provision of medical cards in response to emergency situations i.e. in circumstances where persons are in need of urgent ongoing medical care and also for persons receiving end of life treatment – that is when patients’ unfortunately have a prognosis of less than 12 months. In these cases, a medical card is issued within 24 hours of receipt of the required patient details and completed medical report by a healthcare professional.
Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil Brendan Smith TD has welcomed confirmation from the HSE that the vaccine supply for the Swanlinbar Health Centre will now enable the roll-out of the vaccine programme commencing with the over 85’s.
‘Having spoken to some local residents who were 85 and older I know that the delay was a cause of concern to them and the availability of the vaccine now is warmly welcomed. Along with Councillors Sean Smith and John Paul Feeley we had raised with the HSE the need to have the Swanlinbar delay addressed and I thank the HSE Officials with whom we engaged with on a regular basis to get this programme up and running.
I wish the Doctor In Charge in Swanlinbar and his support staff all the best in this very important work’, stated Brendan Smith TD.