Ireland North West MEP, Jim Higgins this week has said that there is funding available at European level to help with the clean-up following last week’s series of storms. The Mayo based MEP said: “I have already been in contact with the Commission, and funding is available at EU level for the clean-up but the Government must apply immediately. I’ve studied the application form and received guarantees that DG Regional Policy will be on hand to assist with an Irish application.”
Higgins went on to say that the total clean-up bill for the country could be in the region of €300 million, and he welcomed the announcement that €45 million will be made available from the national emergency fund. However he added: “Further funding needs to be found. Cleaning up after Christine is about more than getting us back to where we were four weeks ago; we also need to install improved flood defences to avoid repeat circumstances. Areas where people will struggle to obtain affordable flood insurance must be a priority.
“The EU Solidarity Fund has an annual budget of €500m and provides emergency funding following a major disaster in a member state. In 2009 we were granted €13m from this fund following the devastating flooding.” However Mr Higgins warned “that the clock is ticking and any application for funding has to be received by the Commission within 10 weeks of the date of the first damage caused by the disaster”.
He concluded by saying, “EU funding is available, all we need to do is apply.”