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Irish MEPs 'confident' EU will provide storm repair funds

A group of MEPs met with the Commissioner for Regional Development in Strasbourg this morning.

Blackrock in Co Louth.
Blackrock in Co Louth.
Image: Aidan Devenney

IRISH MEPS MET with the EU Commissioner for Regional Development, Johannes Hahn, this morning to discuss funding to repair damage caused by recent storms and came away confident that aid would be provided to Ireland – if we apply.

In interviews with Karen Coleman for EP Radio following the meeting in Strasbourg this morning, Fianna Fáil’s Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher and Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly both said the commissioner had been very open to hearing what they had to say.

Gallagher said that, while the commissioner could not give a guarantee, “he was more than surprised with the amount of damage that was done”.

Repair work

In Clare alone, it is estimated that repair works to infrastructure will cost in the region of €23.7 million. Junior minister Brian Hayes has also said it is “inevitable” that additional funding will have to be released on top of the €45 million of emergency funding that is available in the country.

The damage caused by the storm could push the repair bill as high as costs in 2009 when the west coast experienced extreme flooding. At the time, then Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan instructed that Ireland should apply for EU funding.

The commissioner told MEPs today that the application could be looked at from a regional perspective rather than a national one, which would make it likely that some aid would be provided.


“We’re confident that when the application is submitted by the department of finance that we will secure funds,” Gallagher said. “Of course that doesn’t resolve the problem immediately, I believe there’s an onus and a responsibility on the government now to make funds available to the local authorities to carry out the necessary remedial works, because the local authorities don’t have budgetary funds for this, but we’re still confident that we’ll get funding.

He added that it was too early to call what percentage of the overall funding might be provided but said “every million coming into Ireland is a million less than the government have to invest”.

Seán Kelly was also confident after the meeting, commenting that the commissioner had been “very forthcoming” and “he emphasised that it cold include both private as well as public damage”.

The government still has seven weeks from the date of the damage to submit a preliminary application to the EU.

To listen to the full interview with Pat the Cope Gallagher, click here and for the interview with Seán Kelly, click here.

Related: Clare coast worst hit by storms with repair works to cost over €23m>

Battered: Your pictures of how the storm took its toll>

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