“Government should make immediate application for EU flooding funds” - Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has reiterated calls to the Irish Government to immediately apply for money from the EU's Solidarity fund for support in the wake of flood damage, as the threshold for applications closes in 31 days from Wednesday.
The Midlands North West MEP said,
"The regulations on the EU's Solidarity fund, an EU mechanism to provide financial support to Member States or regions in the event of natural disasters, clearly states that EU countries must make applications "as soon as possible and no later than 12 weeks after the first occurrence of damage as a consequence of a natural disaster
"In Ireland's case, the flooding began with Storm Desmond hitting the country on 4th December 2015. Severe flooding was reported the very next day. If this is considered to be the first occurrence of damage the Government would have until the 27th February to make an application.
"Since Storm Desmond, Storms Eva and Frank have wreaked havoc, and following fresh flooding overnight, there are reports that Storm Jonas is on its way from North America set to bring yet more flooding to battered Irish regions.
"Without reiterating the failures of this government to prepare for such disasters by putting in place meaningful flood defence systems and infrastructure based on past disasters, many communities are rightly asking if they can have any faith in Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael correcting past negligence into the future.
"Back in December I called on the government to apply for the Solidarity Fund but they have repeatedly shot down this proposal, citing that the thresholds are too high. However, Article 3 of the Regulation clearly states that funds may not only be used for the immediate restoration to working order of infrastructure, but also for the securing of preventive infrastructure and measures.
"With 31 days left before the 12 week deadline lapses we need a commitment from government that they will ensure that the necessary information including total direct cost of damage, estimated cost of operations and information on past disaster risk prevention and management are handed in immediately in order for Ireland's application to be processed."