Mayo based North-west MEP Jim Higgins this week met with EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn to discuss Ireland accessing funding from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF ) to help with the clean-up following the recent storms. The cost of clean-up and restoration in Mayo alone has been projected to be at least €4.5 million by the local authority here. Speaking after his meeting with Commissioner Hahn, Higgins said: “If ever a country deserved solidarity funding, Ireland does. Commissioner Hahn controls the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF ), a fund which I believe we can access to secure, badly needed, funding to build adequate flood defences and rebuild our destroyed infrastructure."
The MEP said Commissioner Hahn had "forensically gone through the application form and discussed various options which would enhance Ireland's application. Strictly speaking the fund is not for private losses, however I pressed the commissioner to recognise the undeniable link between private and public losses - the damage suffered by farmers in particular is bound to reflect on Irish exports. The commissioner agreed, admitting that it's important that we provide a generous estimate of the damage that occurred at both public and private level."
While the total bill for the repair of the damage isn’t yet known, Higgins has said that it’s important that Ireland gets its application process working as soon as possible. "We may not know the true extent of the damage for several months, but the application is already underway in order to ensure that Ireland gets the maximum from this emergency fund," he concluded.