Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Timmy Dooley TD, says he is confident that Ireland is entitled to receive funding from the EU to help communities deal with the recent adverse weather conditions.

This morning in Strasbourg, Deputy Dooley joined MEPs Pat The Cope Gallagher and Brian Crowley in a meeting with EU Commissioner for Regional Development, Johannes Hahn. The delegation outlined to the Commissioner the damage and devastation caused in recent weeks due to flooding and high winds.

“This morning we had a very positive meeting with Commissioner Hahn in Strasbourg, where we presented the case for Ireland to receive funding under the EU Solidarity Fund,” said Deputy Dooley.

“Commissioner Hahn was made fully aware of the extent of the damage caused to many communities, especially in cities, towns and coastal areas.

“We also explained to Commissioner Hahn the uniqueness of the recent storms compared to previous events and how so many local communities were affected. We also emphasised that the disaster was regional in nature, which is a prerequisite to achieve funding.”

Deputy Dooley also presented the report prepared by Clare County Council on the initial assessment of the damage to the county.

“Clare County Council has estimated that the county suffered over €23 million worth of damage alone. Places like Lahinch were severely affected and these communities need some respite. I am calling on the Government to immediately begin essential repair work in cities, towns and coastal areas affected by the storms.”

MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher and MEP Brian Crowley called on all local authorities to quickly prepare an initial assessment of the damage caused by the storms.

MEP Gallagher added that many coastal islands also suffered considerable damage.

“In the meeting this morning, we also raised the specific issue of the impact on coastal islands severely impacted by the storms. Many islands along the Western seaboard suffered greatly and they need financial assistance as a matter of urgency.

“We are confident that Ireland can secure funding from the EU Solidarity Fund if the appropriate application is made. Fianna Fáil has offered to provide support and assistance to the Minister at the OPW, Brian Hayes, in the submission of an application. This goes beyond politics and if we can speed up the application process in any way, we are more than happy to provide assistance.

MEP Crowley concluded: “The key here is for the Government to make applications for funding on a regional basis and it needs to be done in a timely fashion. People need to rebuild their communities safe in the knowledge they will be supported by both the Central Government and the EU.”