EU funding sought for flood relief in Galway

The heavy rainfall which has blighted east and south Galway, Clare, and Cork has inflicted damage that could cost between €500 million and €972 million, leading to EU funds being urgently sought.

The figures are estimates of Irish MEPs who met in Strasbourg with the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Pawel Samecki on Wednesday.

At the meeting they asked him to consider providing funding from the EU Solidarity Fund. The Commissioner is understood to have “reacted positively” and indicated a “willingness to send a delegation from the Commission” to carry out an on the spot assessment of the damage.

Other forms of funding are being sourced nationally in order to alleviate the suffering caused by the crisis.

The Government will put €10 million into a humanitarian assistance scheme and provide an additional €2 million for farmers under a fodder aid scheme.

The scheme will be coordinated by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, the local authorities, and the Garda Síochána and will go some way towards addressing the damage to property, farmland, and daily life in eastern and southern Galway.

People affected by the floods can apply for two different types of payments – the Exceptional Needs Payment and the Urgent Needs Payment. Both are administered by community welfare officers.

The €2 million fodder aid scheme will provide financial support towards the replacement of alternative feed where fodder has been damaged by floods.

The Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith will be seeking approval from the Dáil to spend the savings on schemes such as the Farm Waste Management Scheme and REPS on measures to directly support farmers affected by the flooding.

The savings, along with EU receipts, will be used to increase the existing allocations mainly for the Farm Waste Management Scheme and the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme.

An additional €39 million will be allocated to the REPS, if this measure is agreed in the Dáil, allowing for payment, in December. This would also enable payment of the second instalment of the Farm Waste Management Scheme grants to be started in December.

A survey is currently under way in Claregalway, Turloughmore, Oranmore, and Menlo to assess damage caused by the recent flooding and to determine measures to alleviate its affects.

Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Frank Fahey has been in contact with the senior engineer in the Office of Public Works to discuss the level of damage caused by the flooding.

He has also paid tribute to the work carried out by the county manager and the Galway County Council staff who have dealt with the flooding.


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