Carthy meets European Investment Bank to discuss flooding response
Following a meeting with Jonathan Taylor, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has reiterated calls to the Irish Government to utilise resources offered by the EIB, in order to tackle flooding.
Speaking after the meeting, the Midlands North West MEP said,
"Flooding and support for flood defence and prevention systems is an issue that I have been actively pursuing since my election as MEP. Following last winter's floods when roads, houses, farms and businesses were devastated by a series of bad storms the issue has become even more apparent.
"Disappointingly, the Irish government has failed to apply for funds through the EU Solidarity Fund and it was revealed in a report in April that there are serious issues surrounding the national programme for flood risk assessment, the steering group of which did not meet for a four year period.
"In January of this year, the EIB announced a €200m loan scheme. This loan is being disbursed through the Office of Public Works, which has already approved 29 flood defence projects.
"However with 10 out of the 29 projects for Cork and another 5 for Dublin and a large proportion of the rest for other urban areas, there is quite obviously a failure to direct funding towards neglected rural regions which have been prone to flooding. Areas surrounding the river Shannon, which experienced lasting devastating consequences, have been completely ignored in the allocation of EIB loan funds.
"As well as highlighting this fact, my meeting with Jonathon Taylor was also geared towards finding out what actions local authorities that had been side stepped by the government could do to in order to prepare for future floods in their areas.
"It has been clear for some time that, historically, there had been a certain lack of engagement by the Irish Government with the EIB, which as a non-profit bank is offering loans at low interest rates. While the situation has improved since Sinn Féin highlighted the issue during the European elections in 2014 we need to actively ensure that EIB loans are drawn down for key infrastructural projects across Ireland. Jonathon Taylor has clearly indicated to me that the EIB is open for business and willing to offer loans to additional Irish projects.
"Therefore the Irish Government has no excuse and I will be feeding back the results of this meeting to the working group of Sinn Féin representatives from areas affected by floods as we are currently preparing a comprehensive set of proposals to address the deficits that are in place. Additional EIB funding must obviously from a part of that response." ENDS