Calling on the Govt to Apply for EU Solitary Fund to Aid Flood Relief
Posted by Alan Kelly on November 23, 2009 at 04:50 PM
I am urging the Irish Government to apply for the EU Solidarity Fund in order to aid those areas across Ireland that were devastated by flood damage in the last week.
The EU Solidarity Fund was set up after the catastrophic flooding in Germany and Austria in 2002. The EU has done a lot in the area of flood preparedness in the aftermath of the 2002 flood in central Europe. It has been used on 26 occasions since then and I am calling on the Government to apply for this fund. Ireland has been devastated by flood waters this week. Cork, Tipperary, Galway and many other areas been affected. Under this initiative, there are funds which the Government may be entitled to.
The EU Solidarity Fund states that “the fund can also be mobilised in the event of an extraordinary regional disaster”. I believe this is certainly the case in Ireland at the moment. You only have to look at areas such as Bandon, Clonmel and Galway to see the extent of the damage. The floods have destroyed these towns.
It’s now time for the EU to show solidarity with all these regions. In particular, the EU needs to show solidarity with the Cork and Southern region, where the significance of the devastation cannot be underestimated. For example, the damage at my old Alma Mater in UCC is so bad it is running into many millions. There is also serious disruption to drinking water availability to tens of thousands of residents in Cork city. Without a doubt there will be huge costs to local residents and businesses from damage to homes and business premises. Serious infrastructural repairs will also be needed in a large part of the city and county.
The EU Solidarity Fund was used as recently as this summer to provide aid to a flood damaged region of Romania. (€12million was provided.) I am calling on the Taoiseach and relevant Ministers to make immediate contact with Commission President Barosso and Commissioner Samecki to make a funding application to relieve the suffering of those affected. The applicaton must be made in a defined timeline and I intend to raise this matter in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg next week. However, the real onus is on the Government as the Commission cannot act unilaterally.