‘We’re not to blame for stalled flood relief works’
In the latest development over the flooding crisis at Lough Funshinagh, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) has robustly contested recent claims made by Roscommon County Council, with the group asserting that their legal interventions are not to blame for the stagnation of vital flood relief work in the area.
Since 2016, the Lough Funshinagh turlough has been of great concern to the local community, as it has not just impacted on farmlands but also on local residents, on multiple occasions requiring emergency flood relief assistance from the local authority.
FIE’s latest rebuttal follows recent statements by the Council, which attributed the delay in executing comprehensive flood relief measures to the environmental group’s legal challenges. The group insists that the real issue stems from the decision of the Office of Public Works (OPW) not to fund the proposed scheme and the Council’s alleged engagement in “unlawful flood relief activities”.
According to FIE, the Council abandoned a legally compliant route for addressing the crisis in early 2021, opting instead for what FIE deems unlawful actions. This shift, FIE argues, led to significant time and public money being wasted, time that could have been used to advance a legal flood relief solution.
Faced with these claims, the Council maintains a different perspective. Since 2016, when the issue first surfaced, the Council has been at the forefront of grappling with the increasingly alarming rise in water levels at Lough Funshinagh. The Council has repeatedly expressed its commitment to safeguarding the local community and properties, despite the legal and environmental challenges it faces.
The Council’s latest statement underscores its dedication to providing all possible flood protection measures within the constraints of the legal framework, stating: “The Council is fully committed to providing whatever flood protection measures can be provided and is in regular communication with local residents and public representatives.
“However and unfortunately, because of the court order, such measures are limited to localised flood defences and pumping in the immediate vicinity of the affected properties”.
“This is especially concerning,” the Council stated, referring to the currently high water levels at Lough Funshinagh, “considering that peak levels are typically seen in early spring, which is still several months away”.
The escalating legal and environmental stand-off between FIE and the Council highlights the complexity of balancing legal compliance, environmental conservation, and the urgent need for effective flood management solutions.
As the community braces for potential future flooding, the situation at Lough Funshinagh remains a point of contention, with no immediate resolution in sight. The Council and FIE continue to uphold their respective positions, leaving the local residents in a state of uncertainty.