Fianna Fáil MEP candidate for Midlands North West Brendan Smith TD says he will push the agenda of Irish fishing interests and coastal communities in Europe. He was speaking following a meeting with the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO), which he attended alongside Pat the Cope Gallagher TD.
“I have taken on board the genuine concerns from the representatives of the fishing sector and the growing unease there is with the European Union in terms of how the fishing sector is managed. There are massive concerns surrounding the failure of the United Kingdom to agree an orderly exit from the EU and the possible knock on consequences for the Irish Fleet accessing UK waters”, said Deputy Smith.
“I am determined that Irish interests will be protected in any reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy. Securing a level playing field for all fishing activities in Irish controlled waters and introducing a more flexible and proportionate approach to inspections is vital to the future of the sector. I will operate an open-door policy for the sector in relation to all European matters and will be a strong advocate for fisheries.
“Minister Creed has failed to stand up for families and communities in the fishing sector and this approach needs to be challenged at a European level so that we can secure the best possible deal for our fishing industry. I will be a strong and committed voice for fishing families and push for better supports for these communities”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith TD says he will stand up for Donegal farmers in Europe and ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed. He was speaking ahead of an IFA meeting in Donegal town this evening, where he will be putting forward his plan for Europe.
Deputy Smith explained, “Over the past number of years farmers in Donegal, and right across the Midlands North West region have seen their incomes reduced, their morale wain and their workloads increase. The beef crisis has pushed many farmers to the edge and the lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation at government and European level is shocking.
“Mairead McGuinness enjoys a media profile as the farmers’ friend, but it is her party which has stood idly by and refused to allocate funding for struggling farm families in Donegal who are under immense financial pressure. It was also this Fine Gael government which signed off at EU Council level on the Mercosur beef deal, which will allow 70,000 extra tonnes of South American Mercosur beef into the EU. This is itself has the potential to decimate the sector here.
“Now Fine Gael has launched a last ditch attempt to win back the farmers it has abandoned over the past five years with the announcement last week of a €50m compensation fund from the European Commission for Irish beef farmers. While I welcome any package which will ease the significant burden on farmers, I want to see a concrete timeline set out for the delivery of this fund. The application process must be easily accessible and user friendly.
“I want to do more than just talk about the issues affecting farmers in Donegal and across the Midlands North West. I will work with farmers at home and in Europe to secure a fair CAP deal, with a €60,000 limit on direct payments, but I will also be pushing for better supports to encourage younger farmers to remain in the sector so that it can continue to survive and thrive”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and Chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee Brendan Smith has expressed his frustration that 45 years after the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the surviving victims and the families of those who died in the atrocity are still no nearer to getting justice.
Deputy Smith said, “Anniversaries bring back a lot of painful memories for people who lived through these dreadful attacks and for those who lost loved ones in the bombings. Unfortunately, not only were their lives irrevocably changed, they are still having to fight for justice.
“I am deeply disappointed with the lack of engagement from the British government in establishing the truth of what happened on that dark day. I, and many of my party colleagues, have raised the issue time and time again in the Dáil, but we have been stonewalled on every occasion. Unanimous Dáil motions were passed in 2008, 2011 and 2016 calling on the British government to release the files relating to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, but we are still waiting.
“I raised the issue directly with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP, and emphasised the importance of making these documents public.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and I will continue to work to secure truth and justice for them, so that the perpetrators of these horrific attacks are brought to justice”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil MEP Candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith TD says a co-ordinated gorse fire response plan is needed in the event of further outbreaks this week.
Deputy Smith made the comments after a high risk fire warning was issued this week as warm weather is forecast in the North West this week.
“Only last month we saw devastating scenes as members of the public and community groups tackled the fires, which broke out in the Rosses over the Easter bank holiday weekend. There was no co-ordination at government level and it took seven hours for an Aer Corps helicopter to be mobilised to the area”, said Deputy Smith.
“The lack of co-ordinated intervention at government level has raised serious concerns about resources at local and national level, and given the warning this week, the situation is particularly worrying.
“Fine Gael are attempting to pass the buck on this issue. When asked about the delay in mobilising the Aer Corps, Minister Paul Kehoe first claimed that responsibility for fire emergencies lies with the local authority. Because of the extensive nature of these fires, additional supports were necessary and unfortunately it took seven hours for them to arrive.
“Let me be clear, the Air Corps support, when it did arrive, brought the situation under control and their presence limited the amount of damage done. However, I believe better protocols need to be put in place to ensure a faster response and more co-ordinated approach. Coming into the summer months, and with a warning already issued, a new plan must be devised”, concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has called on the government to intervene to avert five days of strike action by CE supervisors. Strikes are to begin next week.
Deputy Smith explained, “Throughout every town and village across the country CE Supervisors and CE schemes deliver for our communities. I have met with local groups across the Midlands-North-West and CE Supervisors feel let down by Fine Gael. They are now being forced to engage in five days of strike action due to Fine Gael’s failure to engage with them and act on a 2008 Labour Court recommendation regarding an entitlement to an occupational pension.
“It has been a year since a Fianna Fáil motion my Party colleagues and I worked to pass in the Dáil called on the government to engage with CE Supervisors and to find a satisfactory pathway to address the pension issue for the 1,250 CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors based on the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation.
“Fine Gael has been in government for eight years and has neglected to respect CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors.
“If this strike action goes ahead it will cause serious disruption for thousands of people in the Midlands-North-West who depend on the services carried out under CE schemes.
“The Ministers for Social Protection and Finance must come together and meet with representatives of the CE Supervisors. They deserve respect and to be heard. The government must not keep ignoring them,” concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fail TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament Candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has marked Europe Day by calling on the government to acknowledge its full importance by recognising the day annually.
The 9th of May is observed as Europe Day as it marks the presentation of the Schuman Declaration which ultimately led to the European Economic Community and then, the European Union.
Deputy Smith said, “I have had the privilege of travelling around the Midlands-North-West over the past number of months to meet with constituents and hear their views on Europe. The overriding opinion of Europe is a positive one.
“The positive results of European Union membership are tangible in every town and village across our island. A recent poll reveals 92% of us firmly believe we should remain in Europe and work closely with its institutions. At a time of major challenges for the EU we have to ensure that a reformed Europe works better for Ireland and all countries.
“There are estimates that up to a third of the new European Parliament will be anti-Europe. It is vital we send pro-European voices to Brussels and not those who create fear or division in our communities.
“I am calling on the government to recognise Europe Day and create a programme for this yearly event to inform younger generations and celebrate our membership of this most important union,” concluded Deputy Smith.
Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has called on the government to take positive action to support farming communities across the Midlands-North-West.
Deputy Smith explained, “The beef sector and suckler farmers are at their wits end. I have been across the region and one of the main concerns raised by members of the farming community is their future. They feel abandoned by government with totally inadequate supports being provided to the community.
“Working with our Agriculture spokesperson, Charlie McConalogue TD, we passed a private members’ motion with 14 policy actions in the Dáil last month to highlight the urgent actions needed to safeguard the livelihoods of farmers in the beef sector. This included immediately requesting Brexit mitigation funding for farmers, specifically exceptional and market disturbance aid for beef and other vulnerable sectors under CAP’s Common Market Organisation Regulation.
“Beef farmers have incurred severe losses since last Autumn and require direct EU and State assistance now. The IFA has estimated that beef farmers have already incurred price losses approaching over €100 million as the impact of Brexit has hit.
“The final say on the next round of CAP will be decided by the next European Parliament. We are committed to the reform of CAP and provision of adequate funding for our farmers.
“The government cannot continue to ignore farmers across the country. They are crying out for supports and they must be provided with such supports,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.
It is criminal for anybody to indiscriminately dump 600 tonnes of waste in the beautiful forest land of Drumgill in Kingscourt on the Meath Cavan border.
I am disgusted that this reckless crime could take place. This will cost hundreds of thousands of euro to clean up. Money that could have been put to good use by Coillte. The costs are not solely financial. The impact of this waste on the forest and the overall climate cannot be underestimated.
I urge An Garda Síochana to work with Coillte and the two County Councils to find out who committed this crime and to bring them to justice. I implore the Government to help Coillte and these local authorities to meet the costs of the clean-up, so that this idyllic part of the country is returned to its former beauty.
Broadband is urgently needed in rural Ireland. MEP Candidate Brendan Smith T.D.
Day in, day out canvassing has strengthened my commitment to fight for EU assistance in bringing quality broadband to rural Ireland who have been starved of this service.
One issue raised by all sectors of society across Midlands-North-West is access to broadband.
Farmers, families, businesses highlighted to me the need for this essential infrastructure. Indeed, students, including those studying for their Junior and Leaving Certificate exams said it was wrong that they should be without broadband.
If elected as the MEP for this constituency I will seek immediate assistance from the EU to meet the cost and of providing proper access to quality Broadband. The lack of access to Broadband in Leitrim and other rural areas is causing critical problems. It is impossible to set up companies and create sustainable jobs as Broadband is an essential infrastructure. Something must be done now.
We need a fund, similar to the Social Fund that supported strategic infrastructure work, to be carried out in Ireland some years ago. By providing this strategic infrastructure fund to help Ireland sort out the Broadband problem, the EU will also be contributing to generating sustainable jobs throughout the country and improving access for those in rural areas to vital health and safety services.
I thank the people I met in Leitrim for their courtesy and generosity of time during the canvass this week.