Brendan Smith: Refuge Centre urgently needed for Cavan/Monaghan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Brendan Smith has once again called on the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration to progress, without delay, the provision of a Refuge Centre in Cavan/Monaghan for victims of domestic abuse. 

Minister O’Gorman, in his reply to Deputy Brendan Smith in Dáil Éireann, stated that Tusla is undertaking a review of emergency accommodation nationwide and this will assess the current and requisite distribution of safe emergency accommodation.   

He added that there are consultations with stakeholders including service users and a report will be published by Tusla in April this year. 

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “Unfortunately since early 2020 and with the onset of the Covid pandemic there has been an increase in domestic violence and adequate supports need to be put in place for all families who are experiencing such difficulties. 

“At present there is no dedicated Refuge Centre in Cavan or Monaghan and I urge Tusla along with the Department to ensure the provision of such a Centre with additional supports and services at local level,” added Deputy Brendan Smith. 

In response to Deputy Smith’s question, Minister O’Gorman stated that he was able to procure €30m for Tusla in Budget 2021, specifically allocated for DSGBV services. This includes core funding of €28m and an additional €2m to assist DSGBV organisations in offsetting the effects of Covid-19 on day-to-day services. 

He added that Tusla is also undertaking a review of emergency accommodation nationwide and that the review will inform Tusla’s future decisions on priority areas for investment and development of services. Tusla has advised Minister O’Gorman that the report will be published this April. 


______________________________________________

For Written Answer on : 21/01/2021
Question Number(s)270 Question Reference(s): 3483/21
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth if a refuge centre for victims of domestic abuse will be established in counties Cavan and Monaghan in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


The response to Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) is a cross Departmental and multi-agency issue. Policy is coordinated by the Department of Justice. Under the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care and protection of victims of DSGBV. Capital funding for approved housing bodies, including services that provide refuge accommodation for victims of DSGBV, is provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

I am delighted that I was able to procure €30m for Tusla in Budget 2021, specifically allocated for DSGBV services. This includes core funding of €28m and an additional €2m to assist DSGBV organisations in offsetting the effects of COVID-19 on day-to-day services.

The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government sets out a number of commitments regarding DSGBV, including an audit on segmentation of DSGBV responsibilities across government departments and agencies, which will inform future investments in this area.

Tusla is also undertaking a review of emergency accommodation nationwide. This will assess the current and requisite distribution of safe emergency accommodation. Substantial progress has been made on a number of processes which contribute to the review, including a literature review, consultations with stakeholders, geographical and census data analysis, consultation with service users and policy analysis.

The review’s findings and the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee of the Second National Strategy on DSGBV will inform Tusla’s future decisions on priority areas for investment and development of services. Tusla has advised me that the report will be published this April.

It is of the utmost importance that the needs of those who experience domestic violence are met in the most appropriate way possible. I strongly support the work of Tusla and its funded service providers and I am committed to supporting the Agency in meeting the needs of individuals who experience domestic violence.

END

Community Enhancement Programme

The Community Enhancement Programme has supported a varied and wide-ranging list of projects in #Cavan and #Monaghan.

This Programme shows how relatively small amounts of funding can make a big difference to communities and organisations that carry out really important work.


The Programme, funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, is designed to support community groups, particularly in disadvantaged areas, through the provision of small capital grants including childcare groups and playgrounds, recreational groups, community gardens and premises, sports grounds and initiatives that support the elderly.


Well done to all on submitting their successful applications

https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/1e973a-community-enhancement-programme-projects/

Major extensions planned for Cólaiste Dún an Rí, Kingscourt and Breifne College, Cavan

Breifne College Cavan
Cólaise Dún an Rí Kingscourt

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has welcomed the approval of applications by Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board for major expansion of accommodation at Cólaiste Dún an Rí, Kingscourt and Breifne College, Cavan.

“Both Cólaiste Dún an Rí and Breifne College have had considerable growth in enrolment which will continue and the ETB will now be able to plan additional permanent accommodation at Cólaiste Dún an Rí to cater for 1000 pupils.  Similarly the planning can now commence in respect of increasing accommodation at Breifne College to cater for 1200 pupils.

I pay particular tribute to Councillor Clifford Kelly for his work in having Cólaiste Dún an Rí established and also for his support for the ETB application to double the size of the existing accommodation.  Sometime ago at the request of Councillor Clifford Kelly I met with the Principal, the Parents’ Association and Members of the Board of Management where they clearly outlined to me the success of the College to date and the very welcome projected enrolment for the future.  I was very glad to highlight to the Department and the Minister the need to advance this application without delay.

I am glad to have supported the ETB application in seeking additional permanent accommodation for Breifne College where there has been a substantial increase in enrolment in recent years.  It is a great credit to both schools and a vote of confidence that this major expansion in school accommodation has been approved. I know that Councillor Patricia Walsh as a Member of the ETB has been very supportive of this application.

I know that the CEO of the ETB, Mr John Kearney, and his colleagues made very well researched and detailed submissions in support of both applications and I compliment them for their commitment on the quality of the detailed applications.  The ETB has a very good record in delivering building projects and I have no doubt they will progress the planning and design of this additional classroom accommodation without delay.

I wish the ETB well in progressing these particular projects”, stated Brendan Smith TD.

ENDS  12/01/2021

Delighted that the tender process is now underway 20/01/2021 – Smith

Need to progress building project at St. Aidan’s Comprehensive School

Date of issue 5/01/2021

I welcome the decision by my colleague the Minister for Education, Ms Norma Foley TD to approve funding in respect of 4 specialist classrooms at St. Aidan’s Comprehensive School, Cootehill.

This is a welcome development and I am very glad to have supported the school’s application for additional permanent accommodation.  This upgrading of classroom accommodation will enhance considerably the school’s facilities.  The 4 specialist rooms are Engineering Room, Engineering Prep Room, Construction Prep Room and Home Economics Room.

I compliment the entire school community, namely the Principal Ms Marianne Smith and her staff colleagues, the Board of Management and the Parents’ Association on their efforts to have additional accommodation and upgraded facilities provided at St. Aidan’s.

ENDS 5/01/2021

EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive

Below is an update from the HSE in relation to the provisions of the Cross Border Directive as it applies to accessing healthcare in Northern Ireland and Britain.

Since 1 January 2021, the provisions of the EU Cross Border Directive (CBD) no longer apply to the UK. In order to mitigate the impact of the loss of access to care in the UK under the EU CBD scheme for persons resident in Ireland, the Government has agreed to provide for the implementation of a replacement scheme to be available in Northern Ireland only from 1 January 2021. The new Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme will operate for 12 months and will operate on the same parameters as the EU Cross Border Directive scheme. 

Furthermore, the HSE is putting in place transitional arrangements for those patients who had commenced their patient pathway accessing healthcare in the UK including NI under the CBD prior to 30/12/2020 but for whom that care is due to be completed in 2021. It will be a requirement that patients who seek to use the CBD transitional arrangements will be able to evidence that their care pathway had commenced prior to 31/12/2020. The transitional arrangements are as follows:

The transitional arrangements for the CBD in respect of the UK including NI will allow for reimbursement of healthcare costs by the HSE to persons who fall into the following categories:

  • Where a patient’s treatment has already been initiated but may not have been completed under the current arrangements before 31 December 2020 (e.g. patients undergoing orthodontic treatment), or
  • Where patients have a scheduled treatment in 2021 which can be evidenced by way of a completed application/treatment form or scheduled appointment letter dated in 2020, or
  • Where patients may have had treatment booked in 2020 but for whom their treatment may have been cancelled and rescheduled by the provider to 2021 (this is likely to apply in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic).
  •  

These patients will remain eligible to continue to be reimbursed for care accessed under the provisions of the EU Cross-Border Directive scheme where that care has or will take place in the UK.

The HSE asks all that patients accessing healthcare in another jurisdiction give careful consideration to the risks and benefits associated with travel for treatment at this time and it is extremely important that public health restrictions are adhered to.  Please see the HSE website https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/protect-yourself-and-others.html and https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/#travel-restrictions

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 13/01/2021
Question Number(s): 1099 Question Reference(s): 1816/21
Department: Health
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Health the arrangements in place to continue a scheme with Northern Ireland and Britain similar to the EU cross-border healthcare directive; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY




Since 1 January 2021, the provisions of the EU Cross Border Directive (CBD) no longer apply to the UK. In order to mitigate the impact of the loss of access to care in the UK under the EU CBD scheme for persons resident in Ireland, the Government has agreed to provide for the implementation of a replacement scheme to be available in Northern Ireland only from 1 January 2021. The new Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme will operate for 12 months and will operate on the same parameters as the EU Cross Border Directive scheme.

Furthermore, the HSE has also put in place transitional arrangements for certain patients who have a legitimate expectation of continuing to access care in the UK under the current provisions of the EU Cross-Border Directive Scheme including provision for reimbursement of healthcare costs by the HSE to persons who fall into certain categories, such as patients who can evidence that they have treatment booked prior to December 2020 for treatment in 2021.  Patients are advised to contact the HSE CBD office directly with queries on individual applications and whether they are covered by the transitional arrangements or the new Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme.

Finally, it is also important to note that, patients continue to have access to health services under the EU CBD Scheme in all other remaining EU countries.

Additional Garda recruitment with Budget 2021 – Brendan Smith TD

  • More resources needed for Cavan/Monaghan

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has been informed by the Minister for Justice that Budget 2021 will enable the recruitment of up to 620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff.

Deputy Brendan Smith through Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann had asked the Justice Minister if additional resources would be provided in 2021 for An Garda Síochána in the border region such as counties Cavan and Monaghan in view of the unique policing demands in this area.

Minister McEntee in her reply to Deputy Brendan Smith in Dáil Éireann stated –

“As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for generally controlling, managing, administering and carrying on the business of An Garda Síochána.

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. The significant level of funding provided over recent years is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff.  As a result, there are now some 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide.  

Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff.  The Budget allocation also provides for an increase in supervisory ranks at Sergeant and Inspector level.

More Garda recruits and more Garda staff means extra members of the service on the frontline and in specialist units battling organised crime groups, supporting victims, and keeping people safe. 

Insofar as the Cavan/Monaghan Division, which services a large part of the border region, is concerned, I am pleased to that that there were 384 Garda members of all ranks in the Division as of the end of October 2020. This represents over a 14% increase in Garda numbers since the end of 2017 in the Division, demonstrating An Garda Síochána’s commitment to the communities along the Border”, concluded Minister Helen McEntee.

ENDS 18/01/2021

PQ REPLY BELOW

______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 09/12/2020
Question Number(s): 188,189 Question Reference(s): 42519/20, 42520/20
Department: Justice
Asked by: Brendan Smith T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION



* To ask the Minister for Justice if additional resources will be provided in 2021 for An Garda Síochána in the Border region in view of the unique policing demands in Garda divisions in the region; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 9 December, 2020.

* To ask the Minister for Justice if adequate resources will be provided for Garda divisions in the Border region in view of the unique policing demands in Border areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Brendan Smith T.D.


For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 9 December, 2020.

REPLY




As the Deputy will be aware, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for generally controlling, managing, administering and carrying on the business of An Garda Síochána.

An Garda Síochána has been allocated an unprecedented budget of €1.952 billion for 2021. The significant level of funding provided over recent years is enabling sustained, ongoing recruitment of Garda members and staff.  As a result, there are now some 14,600 Garda members and over 3,000 Garda staff nationwide.  

Budget 2021 will allow for the recruitment of up to620 new Gardaí and an extra 500 Garda staff.  The Budget allocation also provides for an increase in supervisory ranks at Sergeant and Inspector level.

More Garda recruits and more Garda staff means extra members of the service on the frontline and in specialist units battling organised crime groups, supporting victims, and keeping people safe. 

Insofar as the Cavan/Monaghan Division, which services a large part of the border region, is concerned, I am pleased to that that there were 384 Garda members of all ranks in the Division as of the end of October 2020. This represents over a 14% increase in Garda numbers since the end of 2017 in the Division, demonstrating An Garda Síochána’s commitment to the communities along the Border.  

Funding approved for outdoor recreational projects

I welcome the approval of government funding for the development of outdoor recreational amenities which will benefit 4 projects in Co. Cavan and 6 projects in Co. Monaghan.

I compliment the local groups and the county councils in their work in bringing these projects to this stage .The development of more walks, trails, and cycle ways enhance considerably community facilities both for local residents and visitors.

18/01/2021

Increase in funding for Youth Services – Brendan Smith TD

Cavan/Monaghan Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Children of an 8% increase in the funding allocation for Youth Services for 2021.

“I welcome the allocation of €857,754 for Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board to provide a range of youth services throughout both counties.  The Minister has also allocated substantial funding to a large number of National Youth Organisations which will also be beneficial for youth services in both counties.   During these difficult and challenging times it is essential that local organisations delivering important youth services are supported to the best extent possible. 

I compliment the ETB, local groups and volunteers in the youth sector on their ongoing commitment to enhance services for our young people”, stated Brendan Smith TD.

Department PR below with county allocations.

ENDS

18/01/2021

PRESS RELEASE

Minister O’Gorman announces almost €67m in youth funding for 2021

·        €41.8m has been made available in targeted funding

·        National Youth Organisations will benefit from some €12m in universal funding

·        €4.6m has been made available to the 16 Education and Training Boards

·        €2.25m has been made available for the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme

 Monday 18th January 2021

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, has today confirmed that €66.8 million in funding has been made available to support the provision of youth services nationwide in 2021.  This investment increases financial support for both youth services and youth clubs, as well as ensuring further strengthening and development of UBU Your Place Your Space, universal service provision and youth information.

This €66.8m in funding is broken down as follows:

  1. €41.8 million has been made available in targeted youth funding under UBU Your Place Your Space, including
    1. Increases for existing UBU Your Place Your Space services totalling almost €1 million
    2. The provision of additional funding of €1 million to establish new UBU Your Place Your Space services, with an initial six new services being planned for the first part of 2021.
  2. National Youth Organisations will benefit from an increase to some €12 million in universal funding under the Youth Services Grant Scheme.
  3. Local youth clubs will benefit from an increase to €2.25 million.
  4. Youth Information Centres will see an increase in allocations to services and be supported through a new nationwide programme of co-ordination and modernisation.  Funding of €1.57 million is being provided for this purpose.
  5. Education and Training Boards (ETBs) around the country will receive €4.6m to support their work and engagement with young people. As the mid-level governance structure for Exchequer funded youth service provision, ETBs perform a key role in the assessment and development of youth services in their area.
  6. The remaining investment will strengthen quality, see the development of a new youth strategy, support the important role of ETBI, and support the operations of Leargas, Gaisce – the President’s Award, EU and North/South Initiatives and the LGBTI+ Youth Strategy.

Minister O’Gorman stated:

“I am pleased to announce the funding allocation for youth services for 2021.  The increase of €5m, or 8%, which represents a notably larger sum than has been allocated in recent years, provides an opportunity to expand on the innovation and achievements of the sector in 2020.

“In this last dramatic year, I have been very impressed by the passion and determination at every level of the youth sector in responding to a wide range of challenges, not least of which is supporting our young people at the time of a global pandemic.  I have also been impressed at the ability of the sector to harness innovation to the benefit of all young people and it is my hope that I can support this in the period ahead.

“I am committed to further progress in our youth funding and policy space over 2021. My Department will oversee the establishment of additional services in UBU Your Place Your Space and drive forward reform across both Youth Information Centres and the Youth Services Grant Scheme in a spirit of collaboration and partnership.

“I have enormous respect for the transformative effect that comes from quality youth work with young people. I think recent history has shown what we have been saying from some time, funding for youth services changes lives, makes economic sense, and promotes equity, inclusion and social cohesion.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors

  1. UBU Your Place Your Space provides funding of almost €42 million to over 250 targeted youth services across 16 Education and Training Boards. It became operational on 1 July 2020. It replaced previous targeted youth funding arrangements. Funded organisations support young people who are marginalised, disadvantaged, or vulnerable. (For further information see – https://smex-ctp.trendmicro.com:443/wis/clicktime/v1/query?url=www.ubu.gov.ie&umid=f38f8695-86fa-4871-8f93-4b21e8e61455&auth=6872f6337a9b3dc6b8deb7cd57f4474464102c3f-342a0b666bf2887bb31d0fe605d1ab83e1863ed5)
  2. Funding for National Youth Organisations is provided under the Youth Services Grant Scheme.  This scheme is being reformed in 2021. YSGS funded organisations will benefit from some €12 million. The funding ensures the continued promotion, growth and development of these organisations in the provision of universal and targeted services for young people.
  3. Funding of over €2.25 million has been made available for the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme. This scheme supports youth work activities at a local level by providing grants to youth clubs and groups. These are volunteer led and funding is accessed through the Education and Training Boards. This scheme supports some 1,400 clubs or groups nationwide.
  4. Funding of over €4.6 million has been made available to the sixteen Education and Training Boards (ETBs) around the country to support their work and engagement with young people. As the mid-level governance structure for Exchequer funded youth service provision, ETBs perform a key role in the assessment and development of youth services in their area.
  5. The remaining funding supports a number of smaller initiatives throughout the youth sector.

Summary of Funding Envelope to Education and Training Boards

ETB Funding Envelope

Approved for 2021
  Targeted Youth Funding Scheme / UBU Your Place Your Space    2021YIC 2021Local Youth Club Grant Scheme


2021
ETB Youth Grant

2021
Total Funding


2021
Cavan and Monaghan€528,949€117,355€60,830€150,620€857,754
CDETB/CDYSB€14,408,267€102,167€364,870€1,033,694€15,908,998
Cork€3,127,281€130,355€243,398€353,561€3,854,595
DDLETB€7,771,104€131,308€357,541€653,331€8,913,284
Donegal€374,367€141,433€71,583€119,605€706,988
Galway and Roscommon€2,009,414€52,028€145,766€265,562€2,472,770
Kerry€438,657€118,569€60,241€133,538€751,005
Kildare and Wicklow€1,685,362€104,056€169,649€216,633€2,175,700
Kilkenny and Carlow€908,132€52,028€69,657€249,456€1,279,273
Laois and Offaly€233,653 €73,991€119,609€427,253
Limerick and Clare€2,863,053€107,230€143,541€339,927€3,453,751
Longford and Westmeath€598,705€52,028€59,171€132,035€841,939
Louth and Meath€625,453 €149,426€193,611€968,490
Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim€520,975€68,594€96,915€207,527€894,011
Tipperary€839,885€60,847€69,903€183,735€1,154,370
Waterford and Wexford€2,509,881€112,875€118,182€322,574€3,063,512
Total€39,443,138[1]€1,350,873€2,254,664€4,675,018€47,723,693

YSGS Allocation to National Youth Organisations for 2021

Organisation2021 Allocation
 
Foróige€3,073,942
Youth Work Ireland€2,312,713
Scouting Ireland€1,192,727
Crosscare€1,054,728
National Youth Council of Ireland€664,906
Macra na Feirme€508,380
Irish Girl Guides€438,904
Catholic Guides of Ireland€297,289
Involve€262,915
No Name Club Ltd€224,028
Belong To€218,922
Ogras€213,923
An Oige€207,202
Church of Ireland Youth Department€206,479
Young Mens Christian Association€173,712
Localise Youth and Community Service ltd€147,860
ECO – UNESCO Clubs€140,504
Youth Theatre Ireland€116,914
SpunOut€111,567
Feachtas€102,338
Voluntary Services International€92,617
Young Irish Film Makers€67,112
The Boys Brigade€65,963
National Federation of Arch Clubs€60,003
Order of Malta Cadets€55,579
Girls Brigade€52,221
Girls Friendly Society€36,383
Irish Methodist Youth & Children Dept€34,169
Experiment In International Living€33,090
Junior Chamber Ireland€19,448
TOTAL€12,186,536

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