EU fund must take losses in marginal areas into account.
Today, Senator Ronan Mullen strongly criticised the apparent lack of EU Solidarity Funds available to counties on the western coast hardest hit by the recent storms and flooding.
Senator Mullen said:
“Counties predominantly in the west have borne the brunt of the storms and flooding, including sensitive tourism areas and small business. Areas which are marginal and depend on seasonal tourism can ill-afford the serious losses caused by the storm and ensuing floods nor can they afford the resulting rising insurance costs”.
He continued, “The EU commission has told us that the EU Solidarity Fund only covers natural disasters where the damage is over €800 million. After these storms the damage to public property is still being estimated. In five counties alone, it has been estimated at €65 million. Furthermore damage and destruction to private property could cost over €250 million. These figures don’t take into account the personal sustained losses to small business owners and rural communities as a result of closed roads and businesses. The Irish people shouldn’t have to suffer more because they don’t fit squarely into what appears to be unreasonable criteria.”
“The EU has not taken into account that the damage wrought by the flooding and winds occurred mainly in marginal areas which are highly dependent on seasonal tourism along the west coast. The EU relief fund must make an exception for these types of communities. Criteria used to fund victims of floods in central Germany and Austria should not be the same as apply to small rural communities in the West of Ireland”, Senator Mullen concluded.