Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan and European Parliament candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith has committed to working with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to support their efforts to prevent smuggling and fraudulent activities in the State and in Europe.

Deputy Smith commented, “While Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and previous work on the EU Council of Ministers, I have admired the work carried out by OLAF. We must protect against any hard border on the island of Ireland. However, it appears the government cannot detail how a no deal situation would impact on the border counties. There is concern that smuggling may significantly increase post Brexit. A joint report between An Garda Síochána and the PSNI cited the UK withdrawal from the European Union as a potential increase to cross-border crime.

“I want to reconfirm our commitments to Europe and its benefits, including drawing upon the work of OLAF to combat against smuggling. We are four months on since the European Commission Action Plan on tobacco smuggling was launched and has proven to be a great success.

“There has been some reckless talk by extreme groups suggesting Ireland leave the European Union in recent weeks. If the utter chaos in Britain or the decades of investment in Ireland via European funds was not enough of a reason to stay with our European neighbours, the activities to prevent against smuggling is one important incentive.

“If fortunate to be elected to the European Parliament I can assure constituents that I will be a strong voice for the border region. Every resource and body will be called upon to protect a free, open, and safe border on our island,” concluded Deputy Smith.