Clare Oireachtas Members unite to appeal for funding for Clare Flood Victims.

December 8th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Clare Deputes Pat Breen T.D. and Timmy Dooley T.D.travelled to Brussels on Friday last as part of a European Affairs Committee to meet with the EU Commissioner for Regional Development, Mr Pavel Samecki, to press the case for grant aid from Europe to help those areas of the country afflicted by the recent floods.

The Committee met with Commissioner Samecki to impress upon him the serious damage the extensive flooding has done to lives, land, and livelihoods throughout the country and to push for money from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to assist Ireland in dealing with its worst affects.

Committee Chairman, Bernard Durkan TD said:
“We had a very positive meeting with Commissioner Samecki today. We explained to him the unprecedented damage the flooding had done and the widespread impact it has had on a huge number of people.

We appealed to him directly for funds from the EUSF to be allocated to Ireland to help with repair and reconstruction work. Promisingly, Commissioner Samecki was sympathetic to the plight of the people affected by flooding and responded positively to the points made by the delegation.

Committee Vice Chairman Timmy Dooley T.D. said:

‘While our task was to outline for the commissioner the extent of the impact of the flood on the Island of Ireland, we availed of the opportunity to highlight in particular the enormous difficulties experienced by house holders, farmers and business in County Clare.

I am very hopeful that Ireland will receive financial support from the European Union to assist in dealing with the fallout from the floods and I will leave no stone unturned in an effort to get this grant assistance for those affected in Clare.’

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Pat Breen T.D. said:

“The Commissioner was very sympathetic to our case. We explained the situation that had occurred in Ennis, Clonlara, North Clare and the Fergus Embankments. He said that it was important now that each Local Authority combines with the Government to put forward a case for funding.”

The delegation also impressed upon the Commissioner the likelihood of similar natural disasters in the future and the need for the EU to be able to respond quickly.

The EUSF was created as a reaction to the severe floods in Central Europe in the summer of 2002. Under the EUSF regulation, Member States and countries negotiating accession can request financial aid in the event of a major natural disaster.

A national application to the EUSF in regard to the current flooding would have to meet certain criteria, including a high threshold of damages amounting to 0.6% of Gross National Income (GNI) or, based on 2009 figures, damages amounting to €973m.

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is part of the EU’s Cohesion Policy and can be used, amongst others, to assist Member States in the area of the environment and risk prevention.