Government turns to EU for flood bill
THE Government is "seriously probing" the prospect of accessing new sources of funding for flood defences, according to Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes.
Mr Hayes said he has held three meetings with officials from the European Investment Bank (EIB) with the view to securing money for capital works.
The Government has been forced to seek additional sources of funding in a bid to cover the huge bill, with €1.6bn-€2bn required over the coming years, according to government estimates.
The devastation caused by the recent bad weather was discussed during Leader's Questions yesterday, when Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said many families were still recovering from a "devastating experience".
Mr Hayes said it is imperative that the Government seeks funding from the European Investment Bank.
"We cannot receive grants through this facility, but it is potentially a new source of funding and it is something we are seriously probing," Mr Hayes told the Irish Independent.
Earlier in the Dail, Mr Gilmore again expressed doubt about the Government's prospect of qualifying for funding from the EU's multi-billion euro solidarity fund.
He said the Government estimates that it would have to submit for damages of €700m to qualify for funding. Mr Gilmore added that Government officials were looking to see if rules could be "adjusted" so that funding could be drawn down.