The European Commission has been urged to investigate possible emergency aid to help those affected by last week’s flash flooding in Co. Donegal and in Northern Ireland by Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuinness.

The Irish MEP made the call in a joint letter with Jim Nicholson MEP of the UUP (Ulster Unionist Party), which was sent to the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, earlier this week.

“The north western regions of Northern Ireland and Ireland have been badly impacted by last week’s extensive flash flooding,” the MEPs, who are both members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, wrote.

“In the Donegal region, many families are displaced and there is serious structural damage to buildings, bridges and rural roads. In Northern Ireland, the situation is very similar with extensive damage to homes, properties and roads.

The damage to agricultural holdings in the region is substantial, including significant loss of winter feed and extensive damage to potato and grain crops.

“There was also a severe loss of poultry flocks in the floods,” they added.

“While the full extent of the damage has yet to be quantified by the authorities, we believe it merits attention at EU level.

“We would urge you to initiate an investigation with the authorities in Northern Ireland and Ireland to establish the extent of the problem and to provide emergency assistance to the region.”

Underlining the urgency of the issue, both MEPs called on Commissioner Hogan to respond to their call for action and aid as soon as possible.

‘Practical approach’ for flooding

This comes following the news that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has promised a “practical approach” in dealing with flood victims.

Speaking from Co. Donegal last week, Minister Creed said: “I have visited a number of farms today [Friday, August 25] and saw firsthand the very difficult circumstances that farm families in Co. Donegal are experiencing as a result of this freak weather incident.

“My officials are also on the ground locally monitoring the situation; I have received their updates on impacts on local farms.

“The department is working closely with Teagasc staff who are also making themselves available to all affected farmers to provide the most appropriate advice on how to manage these situations.”