English advocates mutual recognition of Irish and UK citizenships post Brexit

Brexit, Business, College, Education, EU, European issues, Funding, Jobs, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Research, Research and Innovation, Skills, Trim, UK, Wesmeath

Monday, 27th March 2017

English advocates mutual recognition of Irish and UK citizenships post Brexit

Damien English, Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Housing and
Urban Renewal, has advocated the mutual recognition by Ireland and the
United Kingdom of each other’s citizenships on a Bi-Lateral basis.

Minister English believes this as a solution to some of the challenges
that will face both countries post Brexit.

Minister English made his remarks in the week that British Prime
Minister Theresa May triggers Article 50 at a Fine Gael public meeting
on Brexit in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan on Monday night.  The
meeting was arranged for members of the public from the constituencies
of Meath West and Meath East.

“Irish and UK citizenships are already quite comparable.  For
instance, we afford each other similar voting rights, there are also
certain historic pre-EU rights in terms of passports and residency.
Many Irish people worked in the UK before returning home, and many
people in border counties still work in the North every day. All of
these people are worried about their current and future pension

“Many Irish students study in the North or on the mainland UK, and
would face crippling international student fees post Brexit. In light
of our enormous shared history with the UK, our volume of trade,
coupled with our common interest in the North and in so many areas
like co-operation in health services, I believe there is a compelling
case for a Bi-Lateral deal between the two counties on citizenship”.

“Such a deal would be in relation to areas that have not been devolved
to EU level, and as such would be outside the remit of the direct
EU/UK talks” Minister English told the Fine Gael public meeting on

“Additionally, Fine Gael in Government will be working with every
sector of the economy and the public service in planning to ensure
Ireland retains its competitive edge in research and innovation as
well as FDI in a post Brexit EU” Minister English concluded.

Minister English seeks clarity from Agriculture Minister on GLAS payments

European issues, Farming, Funding, Meath, North Meath, Wesmeath

Local Fine Gael T.D. for Meath West and Minister for Housing and Urban
Renewal Damien English has recently raised the issue of GLAS payments
with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed T.D.  He stressed the
importance of prompt payments to farmers as vital source of business
cashflow and for future planning.  He also stressed the need for any
outstanding issues to be clarified as quickly and efficiently as
possible, and that the end customer, the farmer, should not be
penalised or delayed for issues that are outside of his or her
control, like capacity in the Department.

Minister English has been advised of the following position by
Minister Creed, and felt it important to share with local media and
the local farming community:

The 2016 GLAS payments underway since December 2016 represent the
first full year payment schedule under the GLAS scheme.  To date
27,400 of the 37,500 participants in the scheme have received 85% of
their payment totalling almost €100 million.

Minister Creed is keen to provide clarity to farmers awaiting payment
at this stage. Furthermore, in order to ensure outstanding payments
are issued without delay, all resources from an I.T. and
administrative perspective are being directed towards resolving the
outstanding issues.

All GLAS applications must pass regulatory controls and validations as
is this the case with all EU co-funded schemes.  The outstanding cases
relate to applications that did not pass these checks and in the
majority of cases is due to a query on a selected GLAS action or a
land parcel on their holding.  All of these cases must be reviewed on
a case by case basis to determine if the actions involved should be
removed from the scheme or allowed to proceed to payment.

Examples of issues leading to delayed payments are as follows:

Declaration of an incompatible parcel usage for GLAS action chosen
Changes in parcel boundaries on which a GLAS action is chosen
including splitting or merging of parcels
An applicant no longer claiming parcel on BPS 2016
Incomplete documentation such as incorrect information on Low-Emission
Slurry declaration
Incomplete interim commonage management plans
Incompatible data and parcel history on Department databases

It is not yet possible to provide a definitive timeframe for the
completion of payments due to the individual nature of the outstanding
issues, however every effort is being made to process all payments as
quickly as possible.  The Minister understands and regrets the
difficulty this uncertainty will cause for farmers involved and is
being updated on a continuous basis by his officials on progress.  A
further payment run is due this week and it is expected that over
1,000 payments will issue. Further payment runs will be made on a
weekly basis as cases are cleared.  The Minister is satisfied that
every effort possible is being made to complete this process as
quickly as possible.

Speech at launch of the new Meath Leader Programme

European issues, Funding, Meath, Speeches


Speech at the launch of the LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme for County Meath in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan, Co. Meath on Thursday 22nd September 2016 at 6:00 pm by Damien English, TD, Minister for State at the Department for Housing and Urban Renewal.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here with you in the Ardboyne Hotel to launch the LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme for County Meath.

I want to start by thanking the Local Action Group and its Chair Sinead Smith along with Michael Ludlow of Meath Partnership for asking me to join with you this evening.

LEADER is built on the strength of Local Action Groups – local people making decisions locally.

The Meath LAG was in the first tranche of Funding Agreements which were signed last July for the delivery of LEADER and I’m sure that under Sinead’s stewardship it will continue to lead the way under the new programme.

The LEADER Local Development Strategy for Co Meath is built on a vision for the county and within this vision lies a challenge to create a county which fulfils its social and economic potential.

A County that is a preferred location for living and doing business in and one that provides us and our communities with the highest standards of living and quality of life.

The LEADER Programme works off the principle that rural communities hold the key to their own destinies and that in any county the people are the greatest available asset.

LEADER helps to facilitate the practical expression of such greatness.

With a budget of over €6.9 million for LEADER in county Meath, it provides a unique opportunity to focus additional support on enterprise and jobs, social inclusion and the disadvantaged and the quality of the environment in which we live and work.

This programme will build on the work achieved during the last programme which saw some great benefits to the people, our local communities and business in Meath.

  • The Brú Micro Brewery in Trim,
  • The Military War Museum near Collon,
  • Tayto Park at Kilbrew,
  • The Meath River Rescue Boathouse at Navan
  • St Mary’s Silver Band Performance and Training Centre.

In addition to these many communities have led the development and upgrade of local community facilities, great credit is due to these volunteer bodies who took on formidable projects and the financial burden involved.

Communities which stand out in this respect include Cormeen, Ashbourne, Ballivor, Oldcastle, Skyrne, Ballinlough, Moylagh, Summerhill, Boyerstown, Bohermeen and Athboy to name but a few.

I am aware that the foundation planning is well advanced in respect of new community applications to LEADER and I wish you every success as you go forward.

As a funding initiative, LEADER is open to all rural dwellers, including community and voluntary groups, small to medium enterprises and private individuals.

Within the framework of the Local Development Strategy, LEADER can offer developmental support and grant aid to projects aiming to promote quality of life and economic opportunities through local actions and operations initiated through the bottom up developmental process.

The LAG delivering LEADER in Meath is the Meath LCDC in conjunction with Meath Partnership as the Implementing Partner and Meath County Council as the Financial Partner.

I want to acknowledge and commend the good work of all of these partners. This is a new model for LEADER delivery but with your continued hard work and a collaborative spirit, I’m confident that LEADER can make a real difference for Communities and employment in county Meath.

The LEADER programme can fund enterprise development, job creation, rural tourism and recreation. In addition, it promotes social inclusion and basic services for hard to reach communities.

Other areas of possible activity include initiatives aimed at rural youth, renewable energy, the protection and sustainable use of water resources at a local level and the protection and improvement of local biodiversity.

The new LEADER Programme provides a great opportunity to build on these types of projects throughout the County, which are to the benefit of Meath and Rural Ireland generally.

I hope you agree that there is a wealth of opportunity within all those areas. I know that there are communities, entrepreneurs and businesses here in county Meath with worthwhile projects that could avail of this funding.

Finally, I would encourage each and every one of you to start the ball rolling, get networking & get involved with the Meath LAG to make these projects happen and to ‘Make It Meath’ for your business and our communities.

Thank You.

Speech to Chambers Ireland Social Responsibility Awards, including Apple Tax.

Business, European issues, Housing and Urban Renewal, Meath, Research and Innovation, Science, Skills, Speeches, Wesmeath

Speech by Mr. Damien English T.D. Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal at Chambers Ireland Corporate Social Responsibility Awards 2016

Thursday 1st September

The Double Tree Hotel, Dublin 4.

Check Against Delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen. Good evening to you all.

I would like to thank Chambers Ireland and particularly Chief Executive Ian Talbot for your invitation to speak tonight.

My congratulations to your team Ian, and to Tina Roche and all at ‘Business in the Community Ireland’ for your initiative in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility in Ireland.

Nights like tonight are worth having. They reward effort, encourage excellence and highlight your work to new and wider audiences.

I am a big fan of CSR. In my previous role in the Department of Education I saw first-hand the benefits of companies getting involved in combating exclusion through programmes for literacy, numeracy and coding.

Tonight I have learnt even more about the great work that you do up and down the country.

Through your CSR you are contributing to the social recovery of Ireland, as well as our economic recovery.

For all of that, I want to sincerely THANK YOU.

I note that earlier in the year, at the launch of these awards, Gerard O’Neill of Amarach Research spoke about the link between CSR and Customer Relationship Management.

In Government we have many customers and many relationships to manage.

One main group of customers we have is you; Chambers Ireland member businesses. Both indigenous Irish and Multinational Companies.

Earlier this week the European Commission attempted to drive a wedge in our long standing relationship with you, by their ruling on Apple, and it would be remiss of me not to discuss this with you tonight.

The ruling is an attempt by the Commission – an appointed body, not an elected body, to meddle in the national taxation affairs of a sovereign member state.

The European Union draws it authority from the EU Treaties which were voted upon by the Irish people. The Irish people have not authorized the EU to look after our tax affairs.

It is important Ireland maintains control of its taxation and economic affairs, because we are a small island country, off another island, off the coast of Europe. We have few natural resources in the traditional sense.

And yet, we are a magnet for global investment. Why?

  • Because of our relationship with you and our pro enterprise environment – one of certainty and stability.
  • Because we have a young, well educated, and flexible workforce.
  • Because we have an education system responsive to the need of enterprise. One that is reforming and changing, with new apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • We have a historic friendship with Britain which will not diminish with Brexit.
  • We are a bridge between America and the European Union.
  • We have a vast global diaspora acting as unofficial ambassadors worldwide.
  • And finally, because of our taxation policy.

A taxation policy that all major political parties have bought into and respected whilst in Government through the years.

A taxation policy that the European Commission and others have tried to strike down, most recently in their response to the economic crisis.

The Apple tax ruling by the European Commission is our biggest economic and sovereign challenge since the arrival of the Troika.

Unless overturned, it is a challenge to our open global economy and Irish jobs. We cannot have CSR if we have no corporations.

Our position in Fine Gael is that we need to appeal the decision. I hope the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, and all elements of our Partnership Government, endorse this position.

My personal view is that we will make an appeal. Our position is right. The Commission is wrong. And I believe we will win the appeal.

On that note I want to thank Chambers Ireland for being one of the first organisations to call for an appeal.

You in Chambers Ireland know that backing this position is backing Ireland as a location for the best of international capital, investment and jobs.

Backing this position is backing Irish research, innovation and talent.

Backing this position continues to create opportunities for all of our people, beyond what an island nation of ours could otherwise expect or hope.

And backing this position is backing the members of Chambers Ireland.

To conclude, our relationship with Chambers Ireland can be described as a mutually beneficial one. Government needs your businesses to be viable and sustainable.

We need you to be profitable to pay tax and create jobs, to employ people that will drive your business forward.

In turn it is through your success in business and your people that allows you to drive your CSR programmes forward.

All of this is at stake if we do not defend our historic open and transparent corporate tax regime.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, that is the serious stuff out of the way. Congratulations to everyone who has won an award so far, I know there are more to come.

I would like to hand you back over to our host Mary Kennedy.


English says calm heads needed in wake of Brexit vote

European issues

Tuesday, 28th June 2016

Local Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal and Meath West Fine Gael
T.D. Damien English has called for calm heads in the wake of the
Brexit vote.

“We need calm heads at this time. The departure of the United Kingdom
from the European Union will take at least 2 years once Article 50 of
the Lisbon Treaty is invoked. Prime Minister Cameron has indicated he
will not invoke it, and will wait for his successor to do so once he
steps down by October. So the first message and most important message
is that there is no immediate change” Minister English said.

“Naturally, we in Ireland must defend Irish interests.  The Taoiseach
has made it very clear that we will be in the room fighting for the
best deal possible for Ireland, both North and South.  I believe the
UK’s departure must be worked out in a calm, ordered way, and in a
pragmatic way.  Now is not the the time for punishment or point

“I believe that all Irish state agencies should now gear up for a
major marketing push for Irish exports, and push Ireland heavily as an
investment location of choice, to take advantage of business
opportunities now possible with the UK’s intended departure. In my
role as Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal I shall be working
closely with my colleague MInister Simon Coveney to ensure our housing
situation, construction sector and high quality office space sector
are capable of meeting this potential new demand.

“Finally, it is very important to note that the European Union is the
biggest and most successful peace project in history.  Western Europe
has not known war for over 70 years now.  Our prosperity rests on this
fact. Politicians of the centre in Ireland, the UK and Europe must
work harder than ever to make sure the progress of the last 70 years
is not lost to a narrow type of nationalism, or extremes of the left
or right wing” concluded Minister English.

Local Minister Damien English and former Taoiseach John Bruton give a Meath hue to prestigious European gathering in Dublin this weekend

European issues
Strong Meath influence on Young European Leaders
A conference of Young European Leaders met in Dublin this weekend which was attended by Meath West TD and the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English.

The prestigious Young European Leaders event was launched in 2011 to bring together the continent’s most promising talents to contribute to Europe’s leadership through their ability to bring together and inspire people. Each year, a group of some 40 carefully selected European Young Leaders from politics, science, media, technology and other fields in Europe, meet and discuss the current challenges the EU faces today, both for society as a whole, as well as for its citizens.  

Discussing the event Minister English stated: “It is great to engage with 40 fellow young Europeans about issues of common concern, and solutions, for both Ireland and for the EU.  The group is not just politicians, there are young leaders in business at the highest level, artists, writers and scientists amongst others gathered in Dublin this weekend. The threat of Terrorism, the tragedy of the refugee crisis and the wider issues of handling migration into the EU, and the need to kick start the industrial and innovation motor of Europe’s economy were all debated keenly. It was good to hear other points of views, which is important in finding real workable solutions both within countries and the wider EU” he said.

“Europeans need to start thinking together again if the European Union is going to thrive – or even survive – over the next half century” former Taoiseach John Bruton told the conference

The former Meath T.D., Fine Gael leader and EU Ambassador John Bruton pointed to four major problems for Europe today: aging populations; a reliance on mature technologies; the continent’s reduced relative size in the world; and risk aversion

Both Bruton, and Minister English highlighted the threat of the possibility of the UK leaving the EU after a referendum. “If every country started to do this the EU would not last more than another two years,” Bruton said.  His view was shared by local Minister Damien English, who cited Meath’s strategic importance between Dublin and the border counties,  as well as Ireland’s potent historic as well as economic ties with the UK.