Council may be forced to relocate Lough Funshinagh homeowners

Roscommon County Council may be forced to consider the prospect of relocating homeowners affected by flooding at Lough Funshinagh after it emerged that legal costs amounting to a quarter of million euros have been incurred fighting court actions taken by environmental group, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE).

  Addressing a meeting of Roscommon County Council on Monday, Chief Executive Eugene Cummins said the local authority’s efforts to keep people in their homes appeared to have failed.

  “They (FIE) convinced the court that water flows uphill…they convinced the judge that works were not necessary,” he said.

  “Even if we (Council) had won at any stage in this process, there would be appeals and that would have meant more money,” he said.

  “We have been trying to keep people in their homes but unfortunately we have failed”.

  Last week, Justice Garrett Simons was informed by lawyers representing Friends of the Irish Environment that the Council had consented to orders quashing its decision to approve emergency flood relief works.

  Mr. Cummins said that FIE had convinced the court that flooding at the turlough was not an emergency and that had left the local authority in an “impossible situation”.

  “We’ve seen people leaving their homes in Ukraine, yet people wonder why I declared this an emergency. There is nothing worse than leaving your home. The Friends of the Irish Environment have been successful in preventing every action and every stance we took,” he said.

  Mr. Cummins, who thanked members for their “unwavering support”, added that the homes were still at risk but the prospect of An Bórd Pleanala granting permission for a pipe to be laid in the future was slim.

  “It’s my feeling that An Bórd Pleanala will refuse any appeal…and FIE recognise this. I’m angry about this but I’m more hurt for the people of Lough Funshinagh,” he said.

  Mr. Cummins, describing it as a “bad day for society”, said that “strangers with no connection to the area had invaded a community” and the Council was left with little option but to consider the prospect of relocating homes.

  The Chief Executive said all costs in relation to the matter would be made known to members as well as the people of Roscommon at a future date.