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Brendan Smith (politician)

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Brendan Coleman Smith born June 1956 is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has served as Chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade since April 2016 He has been a Teachta Dála TD since 1992, currently for the Cavan–Monaghan constituency He previously served as Minister for Justice and Law Reform from January 2011 to March 2011, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from 2008 to 2011 and Minister of State for Children from 2007 to 20081

Born in Cavan in 1956, Smith was educated at Bawnboy national school, St Camillus College Killucan, County Westmeath, and University College Dublin where he gained a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Economics For 15 years he worked as special advisor to the Fianna Fáil politician and former Tánaiste, John Wilson

Smith was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1992 general election for the Cavan–Monaghan constituency and has been re-elected at every subsequent election2 In the 28th Dáil, he was Government Whip on the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs In Bertie Ahern's 2004 cabinet reshuffle, Smith was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with special responsibility for Food and Horticulture

Following the 2007 general election, Smith became Minister for Children at the Department of Health and Children succeeding Brian Lenihan, Jnr in that position

On 7 May 2008 he was appointed as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Brian Cowen's cabinet In July 2010 Smith launched the Food Harvest 2020 strategy Its overall target to increase the value of Ireland's agri-food and fisheries exports by €5bn to reach €12bn by 20203 A September 2012 progress report on the Food Harvest 2020 strategy found that farmers and other primary producers had passed the halfway mark towards meeting their 2020 targets4

In 2010, during his term as Minister for Agriculture, he offered free cheese to Ireland's poor via a European Union scheme that had been around since the 1980s5 The public received Smith's announcement poorly and it was reported outside Ireland as the country became "a laughing stock internationally"678 Smith was then forced to defend his own scheme9

Following the resignation of Dermot Ahern in January 2011, Smith was also appointed as Minister for Justice and Law Reform10

Just before leaving office, Smith gave the go-ahead for genetically modified organism GMO foods to enter Ireland He told the media that Ireland had “altered its voting position” and would back proposals from the European Commission “aimed at authorising the placing on the market of food, food ingredients and feed containing, consisting of, or produced from genetically modified maize and cotton” Smith also said that Ireland would now tolerate “the low-level presence of, as yet, unauthorised GMO varieties in imports of animal food”11

He was the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Education and Skills from April 2011 to July 2012 In July 2012 he was appointed as party spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Border Region Development


  1. ^ "Mr Brendan Smith" Oireachtas Members Database Retrieved 24 September 2009 
  2. ^ "Brendan Smith" ElectionsIrelandorg Retrieved 24 September 2009 
  3. ^ "€5bn export surge sought in 2020 plan" Irish Independent 20 July 2010 
  4. ^ "Food Harvest 2020 target at halfway mark" Irish Examiner 13 September 2012 
  5. ^ "Government to let them eat cheese" The Irish Times 5 November 2010 
  6. ^ Swords, Warren 7 November 2010 "It's not just hard cheese, it's old cheese" Daily Mail London 
  7. ^ Smith, Lewis 6 November 2010 "Irish to get free 'Christmas cheese'" The Independent London 
  8. ^ "Like a movie scene - Irish government declares "Let them eat cheese!"" Irish Central 5 November 2010 
  9. ^ "Minister defends cheese-for-Christmas scheme" Irish Examiner 5 November 2010 
  10. ^ "Election date set for 11 March" RTÉ News 20 January 2011 Archived from the original on 21 January 2011 Retrieved 21 January 2011 
  11. ^ "Ireland to bring GM crops onto home market" TheJournalie 8 February 2011 Retrieved 10 February 2011 

External linksedit

  • Official website
  • Brendan Smith's page on the Fianna Fáil website
Preceded by
John Wilson
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Cavan–Monaghan
Political offices
Preceded by
Noel Treacy
Minister of State for Food and Horticulture
Succeeded by
Trevor Sargent
Preceded by
Brian Lenihan
Minister of State for Children
Succeeded by
Barry Andrews
Preceded by
Mary Coughlan
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Succeeded by
Simon Coveney
as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Preceded by
Dermot Ahern
Minister for Justice and Law Reform
Succeeded by
Alan Shatter
as Minister for Justice and Equality
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Browne
Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party

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Brendan Smith (politician)

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