THE possibility of accessing EU funding to help with the clean-up costs of storm damage in Ireland and other EU countries will be debated by MEPs during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg next week, if a request made by Sean Kelly MEP is accepted.
In the aftermath of the storm damage across Ireland , Mr Kelly today called on the EPP Group, the largest political grouping in the European Parliament to which Fine Gael is aligned, to support Ireland in the aftermath of the storm, and to table a debate on the matter next week.
At a Group meeting in Brussels today, Mr Kelly urged the EPP members to support Ireland in accessing relief funding under the €1bn EU Solidarity Fund.
The Ireland South MEP, who is this country’s only full member of the Parliament’s Regional Development Committee which oversees the Solidarity Fund, is also due to meet the EU Regional Policy Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, on the matter.
Mr Kelly described the storm damage in Ireland as “horrifying and unprecedented in nature”. He asserted that the Solidarity Fund is designed to aid member states faced with such devastation caused by natural disasters.
“It is of critical importance that aid is directed swiftly to affected communities to ensure there is a quick reconstruction of the affected infrastructure. Ireland received aid from the EU Solidarity Fund following the flooding of November 2009 following a meeting I had with then Commissioner Samecki, so I would be hopeful that Commissioner Hahn will look favourably on our request.
“Of particular note is the critical damage done to the infrastructure of smaller communities such as Tramore in County Waterford, Lahinch in County Clare, Foynes in County Limerick, Rossbeigh and Ballybunion in County Kerry amongst many other parts of Ireland,” he said.