My Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform had discussions with the European Commission on possible EU funding under the Solidarity and Regional Support schemes. The purpose of the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is to allow Member States to request financial aid in the event of major natural disasters. There is a damage threshold per Member State which is set at 0.6% of GNI. The estimated costs of damage caused by the storms between 13 December 2013 and 6 January 2014 was €69.5 million. The estimated costs for subsequent damage caused by severe weather from 27 January to 17 February 2014 are currently being collated but indications are that these will not exceed the costs of the damage for the 13 December 2013 to 6 January 2014 period. These total estimated damage costs are well below the non-negotiable GNI threshold of 0.6% (€770 million in the case of Ireland) of the Solidarity Fund.
The possibility of a regional application has also been considered. This is also subject to a series of impact criteria, including one relating to more than 50% of population of a region being directly affected by a natural disaster. Taking Munster as an example for regional designation purposes, with a population of 1.254 million it would have to be demonstrated that at least 627,000 persons were directly affected. Or, if a single county was designated as a region for the purpose of an application, and taking Galway as an example of one of the worst affected counties, 126,000 persons would have had to be directly affected. Therefore, the situations which have occurred do not appear to meet the criteria for application purposes.