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Glenelly Valley bears brunt of torrential rain damage

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Glenelly Valley bears brunt of torrential rain damage thumbnailPlumbridge farmer, Michael McCullagh, who was one of the worst affected by last week's flooding. He is pictured with Sinn Féin MEP., Martina Anderson

SINN Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on the British and Irish governments to ask the European Union (EU) for cash to help victims and repair damaged caused by last week's flooding.

The freak flooding last week devastated the North West area not least the Glenelly Valley where farmers, business and homeowners were severely affected.

Major landslides resulted in thousands of tonnes of gravel and bog making its way to the Glenelly River.  Fencing, gates, posts, bridges, roads, round bales and livestock got caught in its path and were washed away. 

The flooding damaged properties and acres of farmland in Plumbridge. The local Jack and Jill Playgroup was destroyed and the parish hall also extensively damaged as was the 3G Multi Use Games Area (MUGA).

Martina Anderson visited the area on Friday where she met with some of those worst affected and to see at first-hand the devastation.

One farmer - Michael McCullagh - saw his home, which is just yards from Badoney Church, completely flooded. His fields and farms were also submerged in water.

Elsewhere, another local farmer lost 30 acres of agricultural land whilst others have also lost livestock. Plumbridge Livestock Mart was also damaged as was the adjacent Finrone Systems factory.

Speaking during her visit, the MEP said the EU Solidarity Fund could help with dealing with the aftermath.

The funding pot from Brussels is designed to help EU countries hit by natural disasters, including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought. It has given away billions of funding to countries since being launched in 2002.

"It is clear that many farms and rural communities have been severely hit by flooding and it could take a long time to recover. While there is a need for inter-agency co-operation to co-ordinate the response, there could also be a role for the EU in assisting the clean up and helping rural communities rebuild," Martina Anderson said.

"The British government and Irish government should now ask the EU to access its Solidarity Fund which was established to provide assistance to member states following natural disasters.

The British government has previously received 60 million euro to help with previous incidents of flooding.

"There is a total of one billion euro available across the EU for 2017 for the Solidarity Fund and this funding can be used to fund restoration, essential infrastructure and environmental clean-ups."

She added: "This assistance is an example of what will be lost to us as a result of the Tory Brexit agenda and is yet another reason why we need to secure designated special status within the EU to help protect our rural communities."

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