Fianna Fáil Environment Spokesperson Barry Cowen has called on the Government to outline what steps have been taken to secure funding from the EU for flood relief works.
“This is the second bout of extreme weather to hammer parts of the country since Christmas. It’s caused severe flooding and serious damage to public areas, homes and businesses in many parts of the country. The very first thing the Government should have done when we first experienced this early in the new year is contact the European Commission to see what support is available,” said Deputy Cowen.
“After the first bout of severe storms last month, a Fianna Fáil delegation travelled to Strasburg to meet with the EU Commissioner for Regional Development Johannes Hahn to seek funding for Ireland to help deal with flood relief works. The delegation outlined to him the level of damage caused and presented the case for financial support to help our local authorities, businesses and homeowners get back on their feet.
“The Commissioner was positive about Ireland’s chances of securing funding under the EU Solidarity Fund given the millions of euro worth of damage caused to coastal communities at that stage. There’s a strong precedent for this. In 2009, the Irish Government received €13 million in relief funding for the devastating floods of that year.
“All the Government had to do was put the case forward and apply for support from the EU solidarity fund. Why didn’t they do this a month ago after the first storms hit? Have they applied now in the wake of the latest flooding? If not, why not?
“We are hearing from Met Éireann that there is more bad weather to come in the next few days. We need to ensure that communities get every support possible to make the necessary emergency repairs quickly, and take steps to minimise future damage. Help from the EU could make an enormous difference to those communities. The Government must do everything in its power to secure such support from Europe.”