Joint application with the North could secure vital EU funding for flooding

A North West MEP says the possibility of applying for solidarity funding from the EU along with Northern Ireland will increase both region’s chances of getting it.

But the government has just 12 weeks to apply from the date of the disaster last week in North Donegal.

First estimates of damage caused by flooding in the north west are now being put at more than 400 million euro.

Marian Harkin points out that each region has a damage threshold that must be exceeded before money can be got from the Solidarity Fund.

In the case of the Border Midland and Western Region, that threshold is €497.8 million.

But she points out there was flexibility in the past with some small countries.

This occurred in cases such as Malta, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which got help from the Solidarity Fund for natural disasters without reaching the threshold.

And she says although the amounts awarded were small compared to the overall damage, it was nonetheless of help to those states in getting clean-ups underway, as well as making a start on repairing and building damaged infrastructure.

Ireland has received aid once before from the programme, when the Cork region got €13m after flooding there.

As Donegal, Tyrone and Derry were worst affected by last week’s flooding she says another good option for the government is to apply for funding with Northern Ireland: