European Parliament votes may make it easier for Ireland to access Solidarity Fund - Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has welcomed a series of votes in the European Parliament today which, if accepted by the Commission, will make it easier for Ireland to apply for EU Solidarity Funds in the case of future flooding and other natural disasters. Speaking after the vote in Brussels Carthy said:
“It was a complete disgrace on the part of our Government that last year no application was made to the European Union’s Solidarity Fund for flood damage. The fund, the aim of which is to respond to major natural disasters in the EU, has provided much needed relief to citizens, small businesses and farmers in the wake of unpredictable events in other states.
“After the 2009 floods Ireland benefited from this fund to the tune of €13m, however last year the Government failed to even put in an application, the Minister claiming that the GDP eligibility threshold had not been met.
“During this time, I argued that the rules should be changed to allow regions on either side of a border to be allowed to put in joint applications. Disasters know no borders so it makes absolutely no sense that counties on either side of the border in Ireland shouldn’t be allowed to put in applications together to try and meet the threshold criteria, where they wouldn’t do alone.
“The Resolution adopted today in the European Parliament today makes exactly that proposal - allowing for single applications to be allowed where the cause of the disaster is the same and the effects occur at the same time.
“Other changes that Sinn Féin have supported would allow an increase in the threshold for advance payments, shortening the deadlines for the processing of applications and asking the Commission to take into account the level of socio-economic development of regions affected by disasters when making assessments.
“I call on the European Commission to urgently progress these proposals to bring certainty to the process and to increase the opportunities for countries like Ireland to avail of these funds in the future.”