EU Solidarity Funding for Clare – Breen Urges MEP’s Kelly and Higgins to arrange urgent Meeting with the EU’s Regional Policy Commissioner

January 7th, 2014 - Pat Breen

Clare T.D. and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen is calling on MEP’s Sean Kelly and Jim Higgins to meet with the EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn to discuss the provision of emergency funding to Ireland from the EU Solidarity Fund given the scale of the damage inflicted on many of Clare’s Communities as a result of the recent storm force winds, high seas and resultant flooding.

“I have never witnessed the scale of the damage which has been inflicted on community’s right across this County, it is unprecedented. Communities been left devastated since the high winds first hit the County on St Stephen’s Night. On the following morning I visited the Duras Area of O’Callaghan’s Mills where 4 families were cut off as a result of flooding. Following the combination of further storms and high tides, the promenade in Lahinch has been completely destroyed; roads impassable in Liscannor, in Quilty families had to be evacuated from their homes, in Kilbaha the sea wall has been washed away, in Carrigaholt the village was flooded, roads washed away and families were left stranded. Thousands of acres of farming land all along the Fergus Estuary are underwater where the embankments have been breached and farmer’s livelihoods are at risk and I have also requested Clare County Council to include this damage in their submission to Government.

During the height of the recent bad weather our emergency services and Clare County Council Staff were out risking their own lives to help others and I would like to pay tribute to them for their hard work and dedication.

While the cost of the clean-up and restoration of infrastructure has not yet been quantified the bill is expected to be substantial and it is clear that Clare County Council will be unable to fund the restoration from within their own resources.

When the Clare County Council’s assessment is completed and the repair bill quantified, the Governments inter-agency emergency response group will consider this report as well as those reports submitted from other Local Authorities.

Given the unprecedented level of devastation which has been caused funding should be made available from the EU Solidarity Fund and I have been in touch with MEP’s Sean Kelly and Jim Higgins and have urged them to arrange an immediate meeting with the EU’s Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn so that funding can be made available as soon as possible to assist our communities here in Clare with the clean-up and repair.