The recent injunction requested by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE ) on works at Lough Funshinagh could cause devastating delays for the local community, local Fine Gael Senator, Aisling Dolan, has stated.
“This court action will cause a serious outcome for families with delays to the project to reduce water levels and protect households and farmland. It is a real heartache for families in the Lisphelim, Rahara, Ballagh and Ardmullen areas around the lake.
“This is a humanitarian project to protect lives and livelihoods due to the rising waters in the turlough. Currently, Lough Funshinagh is 2.5 metres above normal levels and this is a cause of real anxiety for families in the area.
“Minister Patrick O’Donovan and the Office of Public Works (OPW ) worked with Roscommon County Council to achieve a solution to allow communities to survive along the lough. This is a beautiful landscape with a rich environmental heritage and farmers in the area have been guardians of these lands - however, now it is a question of survival.
“The impact of an injunction will delay this project and it will cause an uncertain future for residents when the autumn and winter heavy rainfall causes further devastation in the area.
“The Lough Funshinagh Flood Crisis committee has advocated so strongly for their community and to protect the people, the area and the wildlife, all which are affected by rising water levels.
“Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan, took emergency action in collaboration with OPW and Roscommon County Council due to hydrological updates on Lough Funshinagh which predicts the potential for flood levels next winter to exceed previous records. The overflow pipe may have ensured time to lower the water level of the lake in advance of next winter,” Senator Dolan commented.
“Contrary to the claims of FIE, the works do not involve ‘draining the lough’. The pipe, currently under construction, aims to remove only the excess water thereby restoring the water to its natural levels.
“This process also aims to protect the habitats and flora which are currently being compromised,” Geraldine Murray, Secretary of the Lough Funshinagh Flood Crisis committee, asserted.
Senator Dolan has called upon all parties to this legal action to work together to achieve a solution for the benefit of people, wildlife and the local environment as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by Roscommon County Council confirmed that urgent flood relief works at Lough Funshinagh had been paused.
“Roscommon County Council confirms, with huge regret, that it has been forced to pause urgent flood relief works to protect local people, their homes and their livelihoods at Lough Funshinagh.
“Despite its best efforts, today the Council was forced to suspend these urgent flood relief works due to a High Court injunction taken by a Dublin legal firm instructed by the Friends of the Irish Environment CLG of Kilcatherine, Eyeries, Beara, County Cork.
“Subject to ensuring completion of the necessary site safety and security works at the location all works will cease immediately.
“Roscommon County Council has engaged an expert legal team and assures the community, that is living with the devastating effects of flooding in the area, that it will work in their very best interests to vigorously defend the project.
“The Council will continue to actively support the community and do all we can to ensure these urgent works are allowed to continue as soon as possible.”