European Parliament committee to question council over flooding hardship
By Martina Nee
The Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament is to seek an explanation from Galway County Council regarding the financial hardship suffered by a number of families following the flooding crisis of late 2009.
North West MEP Jim Higgins has confirmed that the committee heard a petition from three families last week regarding the lack of flood prevention in the Clareglaway and Ardrahan areas, and the failure of the local authority and the previous Government to provide compensation to help them with the financial burden they suffered when the flood waters hit and destroyed their homes in November 2009.
Speaking from Brussels following the petition hearing, MEP Higgins said: “The Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament has confirmed plans to write to Galway County Council, the Irish Government, and Ombudsman in relation to the hardship these three families have found themselves in.
“The families were forced to evacuate their homes due to massive flooding. Their properties were completely destroyed and the previous government refused to provide any financial assistance or to help relocate the residents who were effectively made homeless.”
MEP Higgins explained that although the Committee on Petitions was very sympathetic to the Galway families, “there is no EU Directive to cover this issue” and “therefore, the responsibility for aiding these Irish citizens falls on Galway County Council and the Government,” he said.
It is understood that Galway County Council, the Government, and the Ombudsman have been set a three month deadline in which to respond and that the European Parliament’s committee will once again review the case.
“I am still hopeful for a positive resolution and will continue to lobby for it,” said MEP Higgins.