Published: Wed, 08 January 2014
MEP to meet EU Regional Development Commissioner
Storm damage across Ireland and the possibility of accessing EU funding to help with the clean-up costs will be debated by MEPs during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg next week, if a request made by Sean Kelly MEP today is accepted.
In the aftermath of the storm damage across Ireland over the last number of days, Sean Kelly MEP 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.
Addressing his EPP colleagues at a Group meeting in Brussels today (Wednesday), Mr Kelly urged the EPP members to support Ireland in accessing relief funding under the €1bn EU Solidarity Fund.
The South MEP, who is Ireland’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”. In making his request for funding, the MEP 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,” he added.
“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,” said MEP Kelly.
“Of particular note is the critical damage done to the infrastructure of smaller communities such as Tramore in Co Waterford, Lahinch in Co Clare, Foynes in Co Limerick, Rossbeigh and Ballybunion in Co Kerry amongst many other parts of Ireland.
“Bearing in mind extensive damage has also been done to cities such as Cork and Galway, including to critical flood defence infrastructure, the total bill for the recovery will stretch to hundreds of millions of euro and thus ensure that Ireland is eligible for the EU Solidarity Fund,” said Mr Kelly.