Brendan Smith (politician)
Brendan Smith (born 1 June 1956) is an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Cavan–Monaghan constituency since 1992. He has served as Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade since April 2016 and Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party since May 2016. 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, Minister of State for Children from 2007 to 2008 and Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture from 2004 to 2007.
|Chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade|
|Assumed office |
4 April 2016
|Preceded by||Pat Breen|
|Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party|
|Assumed office |
26 May 2016
|Preceded by||John Browne|
|Minister for Justice and Law Reform|
20 January 2011 – 9 March 2011
|Preceded by||Dermot Ahern|
|Succeeded by||Alan Shatter (Justice and Equality)|
|Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food|
7 May 2008 – 9 March 2011
|Preceded by||Mary Coughlan|
|Succeeded by||Simon Coveney (Agriculture, Food and the Marine)|
|Minister of State for Children|
20 June 2007 – 7 May 2008
|Preceded by||Brian Lenihan|
|Succeeded by||Barry Andrews|
|Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture|
29 September 2004 – 24 June 2007
|Preceded by||Noel Treacy|
|Succeeded by||Trevor Sargent|
|Assumed office |
|Born||1 June 1956|
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Spouse(s)||Anne McGarry (m. 1985)|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
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 election since. 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.
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 2020. 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 targets.
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 1980s. The public received Smith's announcement poorly and it was reported outside Ireland as the country became "a laughing stock internationally". Smith was then forced to defend his own scheme.
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”.
He was the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills from April 2011 to July 2012. From 2012 to 2016, he was the party Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Border Region Development.
- "Brendan Smith". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "Brendan Smith". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- "€5bn export surge sought in 2020 plan". Irish Independent. 20 July 2010.
- "Food Harvest 2020 target at halfway mark". Irish Examiner. 13 September 2012.
- "Government to let them eat cheese". The Irish Times. 5 November 2010.
- Swords, Warren (7 November 2010). "It's not just hard cheese, it's old cheese". Daily Mail. London.
- Smith, Lewis (6 November 2010). "Irish to get free 'Christmas cheese'". The Independent. London.
- "Like a movie scene - Irish government declares "Let them eat cheese!"". Irish Central. 5 November 2010.
- "Minister defends cheese-for-Christmas scheme". Irish Examiner. 5 November 2010.
- "Election date set for 11 March". RTÉ News. 20 January 2011. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
- "Ireland to bring GM crops onto home market". TheJournal.ie. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
| Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Cavan–Monaghan
| Minister of State for Food and Horticulture
| Minister of State for Children
| Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine
| Minister for Justice and Law Reform
as Minister for Justice and Equality
|Party political offices|
| Chairman of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party