Midlands / North West MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has today contacted the EU Commissioner for Regional Development, Johannes Hahn seeking clarification concerning a possible application by Ireland under the EU Solidarity Fund to deal with the immediate costs arising from the recent severe storms.
MEP Gallagher stated today: “Given that Ireland was experiencing repeated and intermittent bouts of severe storm damage, I contacted Commissioner Hahn seeking a clarification as to whether an application by Ireland can be assessed from the beginning of the storm period which started in December until the end of these extreme weather events, which have clearly yet to finish and may continue for some time yet.”
“The Head of Cabinet to Commissioner Hahn, Hubert Gambs has replied to me confirming that the 10 week deadline for an application for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund starts from the date of the first damage. Therefore the deadline would thus be around 21 February. Moreover, the Government can submit additional, updated information at a later point, when this information becomes available. “
Mr Gallagher concluded “I welcome the clarification from Mr Gambs, as I believe that it makes little sense not to assess the damage as one continuous extreme weather event. The Government can submit an initial application by the 21 February and then submit additional estimates when available including the cost of damage incurred over recent days.”
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP has also advised the Government to seek European Investment Bank financing to help with the cost of strengthening coastal and flood defences in the medium term to long term.
Mr Gallagher further stated today “Following recent comments by Minister Hayes stating that tens of billions of euro would be needed to build up coastal and flood defences, I strongly urge the Government to examine the possibility of securing finance at favourable interest rates from the European Investment Bank to help with the cost of this enormous challenge.”
Mr Gallagher added “I recently met with Jonathan Taylor, the Vice President of the EIB who confirmed to me that climate action, including the financing of coastal erosion and flood defences are key priorities for the EIB. The Government needs to act quickly to deal with this problem, which will occur on a more regular basis into the future due to climate change.”