Pictured is Brendan Smith. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

‘A lot done, more to do!’

Deputy Brendan Smith (FF) outlines his political aspirations for 2023...

The 50th Anniversary of the Belturbet bombing, which caused the deaths of two innocent teenagers Geraldine O’Reilly and Patrick Stanley, brought home to us again the horrors that were inflicted by terrorists on communities. We must always cherish and protect peace.

The first traditional Christmas in three years was impacted by the rising cost of living. The soaring costs of heating homes, shops and venues meant bigger bills, and pressure on budgets.

Brexit is a lived reality for those along the border and we know the importance of progress on the NI Protocol early in 2023. We also know how important it is to have the Good Friday Agreement institutions up and running for the 25th anniversary of the great political success of Irish politics.

2023 will be a tough year as the war in Ukraine brings more economic turmoil. We in Ireland are better placed than many to withstand these pressures. Economic growth is vital as it provides the resources to build more homes and deliver better public services for our communities. Thanks to decisions and investments made well over a decade ago, we enjoy high quality and safe food supplies.

While Ireland does face many challenges, we have the skills and resources to fix them. Our Housing for All plan is the biggest public investment in housebuilding in a dozen or more years. We are training more block-layers, carpenters, electricians and the results are already visible. But there is no room for complacency. Never has the saying ‘A lot done, more to do’ been so appropriate.

The Covid crisis cost us valuable time, but it also showed how much we can achieve when we are united around a common goal. People now want to see us put the same effort into converting the fruits of our economic success into more housing, speedier healthcare and improved broadband.

We saw with the short-lived Liz Truss government in Britain what can happen when easy solutions are suggested to complex problems. Demanding change but never specifying how that change would be made, will get you headlines, but it won’t run a government or provide better public services for the people.

We urgently need more homes, improved health services particularly disability services for children. Those are some of the issues I will continue to raise with government in the year ahead. I extend every good wish for 2023.