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BSmith EUOn Friday (March 15th) the Fianna Fáil Convention for the Midlands North West European Constituency will take place.

Extended voting times are now in place. Voting will take place from 12 Noon until 9.30 p.m. in the Longford Arms Hotel.

While I appreciate this weekend is a busy time for many, with people hoping to enjoy the long weekend, I am asking Fianna Fáil members with a convention vote to come to Longford and give me their No.1 vote.

Our Euro constituency needs a committed, dedicated and experienced voice – I can be this person and I will represent you with diligence and to the very best of my ability.

FF North-West/Midlands Convention Today

MEP Bid

Today, Fianna Fáil Delegates will decide who represents them in the Midlands North West Constituency for the upcoming European Elections.

Voting will take place from 12 Noon until 9.30 p.m. in the Longford Arms Hotel and I would ask delegates to give me their number one vote or highest possible preference.

Our region needs an experienced, dedicated and committed voice in the EU Parliament. As Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have had the unique opportunity over the past three years, to meet with many Ambassadors, Representatives and Heads of State from around the world.

My strong Dáil track record and my Ministerial experience would be hugely beneficial as our MEP.

Now, more than ever, we need a strong voice in Europe, I can be that voice.

International Women’s Day

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8th March, we celebrate International Women’s Day, recognising the innumerable achievements of women politically, socially, culturally, and economically in Ireland and around the world. This year’s theme, #BalanceForBetter, is a call to action for increasing equity and equality for women in both the workplace and the home.

As we celebrate the centenary of the first Dáil Éireann, it is important for us all to reflect on the remarkable women who were integral to the founding of our independent state and securing rights for women. Today we commemorate women such as Countess Constance Markievicz, the famed republican revolutionary and suffragette and founding member of Cumann na mBan and Fianna Fáil. As one of the first women in the world to hold a cabinet position as Minister for Labour, she paved the way for women in Government around the world. Lesser known to us, yet important nevertheless, are women like Monaghan-born Mary Lee, a fellow suffragette who played a vital role in Australia for women in obtaining the right to vote and run for parliament, and a strong literary presence of Cavan women in history, from Charlotte Brooke to Marianne Gunn O’Connor.

Today, we have more women in Parliament and decision-making roles than ever before, yet there is much room for improvement. Ireland is not excluded from a long global history of discrimination against women, but great and necessary progress has been made in recent decades. We must stand as advocates for women around the world, from those facing horrific and widespread violence in developing nations to activists fighting for women’s rights.

No specific funding committed for new Second-Level School in West Cavan – Brendan Smith TD

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I have been informed by the Minister for Education and Skills that his Department has not given a specific commitment of funding to Cavan and Monaghan ETB to develop a new second-level school.

“In Dail Eireann this morning I asked Minister McHugh if he had given a specific commitment of funding to Cavan and Monaghan ETB to develop a new second-level school and close St Mogue’s College, Bawndoy and St Bricin’s College, Belturbet. The Minister’s answer is clear and obviously local commentary of a €15 million investment is incorrect,” stated Brendan Smith TD.

I also outlined clearly again to the Minister that there is widespread opposition at local level to the ETB proposal and that the present delievery of second-level school services in West Cavan should continue through the exisiting schools.

Below is the reply by the Minister to my Parliamentary Question –

 

______________________________________________
For Oral Answer on : 06/03/2019
Question Number(s): 52 Question Reference(s): 10868/19
Department: Education and Skills
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he has given a specific commitment of funding to Cavan and Monaghan ETB to develop a new second-level school and close schools (details supplied); if so, when such a decision in respect of funding was made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) St Bricin’s College, Belturbet and St Mogue’s College, Bawnboy,

REPLY

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has not given a specific commitment of funding to Cavan and Monaghan ETB to develop a new second-level school.

I also wish to advise the Deputy that the decision making authority for any amalgamation belongs to the Patron/Trustees of the school, and this is subject to the approval of my Department.

Any proposed change involves extensive negotiations at local level and must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of students, parents, teachers, local communities and contributes to an inclusive education system.

My Department has sought further information from the Patron of the schools referred to by the Deputies relating to the proposed amalgamation and this is awaited. The matter can be considered further following receipt of this information.

Legacy issues in Northern Ireland need to be addressed – Brendan Smith TD

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Communities and families who suffered so much in Northern Ireland and indeed some in our own State need to have legacy issues addressed.

The implementation of legislation arising from commitments in the Stormont House Agreement and the Fresh Start Agreement should be prioritised.  Of course the absence of an Executive in Northern Ireland has been unhelpful as well.

The Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP should be aware of these commitments, should withdraw the baseless comments she made in the House of Commons today and apologise, without delay, to all those innocent families whom she has hurt so much.

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 05/03/2019
Question Number(s): 239 Question Reference(s): 10808/19
Department: Justice and Equality
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the implementation of legislation arising from commitments in the Stormont House Agreement and the Fresh Start Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that work is at an advanced stage on legislative measures to contribute to delivery on the Government’s commitments, in relation to the framework of initiatives to address the legacy of the troubles, agreed in the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

In November 2017, the Government approved the drafting of the Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) Bill.  This Bill will further facilitate cooperation with the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU), which is to be established by the British Government to investigate unsolved troubles-related killings, and other inquiry mechanisms.  It should be noted that the Authorities here are already in a position to cooperate with the HIU, once established, in its criminal investigations through existing mutual legal assistance arrangements.

In addition, the Bill will provide for measures to further enhance ongoing cooperation with the Northern Ireland Coroner in troubles-related inquests.  The general scheme of the Bill is available on my Department’s webpage and drafting is at a very advanced stage.  I expect to be in a position to publish this Bill before the summer recess.

My Department, with close cooperation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is also working on a General Scheme for a Bill to establish the Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR).  The ICIR will be a cross-border institution which will be established to receive information on troubles-related deaths and to prepare a report on the circumstances of the death for the families of the victims.  The ICIR will require legislation to be enacted in both jurisdictions with parallel provisions.  The Deputy will be aware that the British Government is currently analysing the submissions received during last year’s public consultation process on the Stormont House Agreement legacy framework.  My officials are in contact with their counterparts in Northern Ireland on the outcomes of this exercise.  Nonetheless,  I would expect to seek the approval of the Government to draft our ICIR legislation in the near future.

Dealing with the legacy of the troubles on this island is a difficult and complex task. The Government remains fully committed to giving effect to the measures agreed in the Stormont House Agreement.  While the political impasse in Northern Ireland has delayed the roll-out of these measures, the Government will continue to work with the British Government and the parties in Northern Ireland to seek the re-establishment of the Executive.

Additional lairage facilities needed for live exports – Brendan Smith TD

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Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil T.D. Brendan Smith has raised with the Agriculture Minister the fears of the farming community that calf exports could face a bottleneck in France at the peak time for live exports.

In Dáil Éireann Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he had discussed with the French authorities the need to increase lairage facilities at Cherbourg; if he has had discussions with Irish Ferries in regard to scheduling of sailings in view of delays in the export of calves; and if he would make a statement on the matter.

The Minister for Agriculture in his reply stated –

“My Department acknowledge the value and importance of live exports to Ireland’s agribusiness and I am aware of the challenges within the live export trade, particularly that of capacity in lairages in France. Calves being exported must, for welfare reasons, be off-loaded, fed and rested for 12 hours on arrival in France. The current lairages in the Cherbourg region have capacity for some 4,000 calves on any one day.

My Department visited Cherbourg in the Autumn and met with their French counterparts to discuss this matter. More recently, they provided briefing to the IFA before its delegation visited the lairage near the port of Cherbourg recently.

My Department officials are in on-going communication with the Irish exporters with regard to the need for co-operation to ensure that the lairage capacity at Cherbourg is optimised. Industry has been advised to make contact with their business partners in France to explore options around the increase of this capacity.

My Department offers regulatory assistance and approval to commercial providers of transport that is required for accessing important export markets. There is  on-going communication with the various operators but the choices of routes and frequency of operation remain within  the remit of the commercial providers”, stated Minister Creed.

PQ attached –

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 28/02/2019
Question Number(s): 188 Question Reference(s): 10169/19
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine if he has discussed with the French authorities the need to increase lairage facilities at Cherbourg; if he has had discussions with a company (details supplied) in regard to scheduling of sailings in view of delays in the export of calves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Irish Ferries

REPLY

My Department acknowledge the value and importance of live exports to Ireland’s agribusiness and I am aware of the challenges within the live export trade, particularly that of capacity in lairages in France. Calves being exported must, for welfare reasons, be off-loaded, fed and rested for 12 hours on arrival in France. The current lairages in the Cherbourg region have capacity for some 4,000 calves on any one day.

My Department visited Cherbourg in the Autumn and met with their French counterparts to discuss this matter. More recently, they provided briefing to the IFA before its delegation visited the lairage near the port of Cherbourg recently.

My Department officials are in on-going communication with the Irish exporters with regard to the need for co-operation to ensure that the lairage capacity at Cherbourg is optimised. Industry has been advised to make contact with their business partners in France to explore options around the increase of this capacity.

My Department offers regulatory assistance and approval to commercial providers of transport that is required for accessing important export markets. There is  on-going communication with the various operators but the choices of routes and frequency of operation remain within  the remit of the commercial providers.

New Playground facilities – a welcome development at Drung National School – Brendan Smith TD

Congratulations to the Principal, her staff colleagues, Board of Management and Parents’ Association on the development of the new playground at St Mary’s National School, Drung.

An excellent new facility for the pupils and great credit is due to the local community in supporting the project and also the help from Cavan County Council.  A lovely occasion to mark the official opening and great contributions by the pupils.

This playground will give much enjoyment to children and good health and safety to all who use it.