Name: Brendan Smith
European Constituency: Midlands-North-West
Preferred pronoun: He/him/his
Party: Fianna Fáil
Have you held a previous elected position?:
Yes. I’ve been an elected TD for Cavan-Monaghan since 1992 and also a Cabinet Minister and Junior Minister for 7 years. I have also been Chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee.
What are your reasons for running?:
To offer the voters a combination of experience – I know and understand how decisions are made in Brussels – and commitment to public service. The challenges posed by Brexit mean the next few years will be crucial for the border counties and the wider North-West region. This region needs experienced voices in the European Parliament pursuing a positive agenda for this region.
What parliamentary group will you sit with in EP and why?:
ALDE – Fianna Fáil chose to join this centrist group some years ago. It is the third largest group in the EP and consists of moderate centrist parties from across Europe, including several who are in government. Polls across the EU say that ALDE will likely see a sizeable increase in seats in the next parliament.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing young people in Ireland and what do you intend to do about them?:
Young people who have been contacting me over the past few months have been stressing two key issues: one is access to the digital market and broadband connectivity. The completion of the EU single digital market will be a major item on the agenda of the incoming parliament. The other major issue is climate change and the need to act now to ensure the protection of our environment and the viability of our eco-systems.
What will you do to ensure funding for opportunities (e.g Erasmus and the Youth Employment Initiative) is increased in the next Multi-annual Financial Framework?:
The key to success in pursuing your agenda in Brussels is the building of alliances, across groups and across national delegations. I will work with ALDE and other colleagues to ensure that funding for these key EU initiatives is increased. I also want to see us develop an ambitious, EU wide, Erasmus style programme for apprentices. Erasmus is a great success and I want to see apprentices have the same access to skills development.
Any other comments?:
I look forward if I am fortunate enough to be elected, to working with a range of interest groups and representative organisations to raise issues of concern to them in the European Parliament and in facilitating them to make their case in Brussels or Strasbourg.