‘FIE adopted scorched-earth policy’

Members expressed frustration and anger at Monday’s meeting of Roscommon County Council following confirmation that the local authority had been forced to step back from its efforts to complete flood relief works at Lough Funshinagh.

  Cllr. Laurence Fallon said he had never heard “a more depressing statement” issued by the Council.

  “Part of our community has no future,” he said before thanking the local authority, Chief Executive Eugene Cummins, the Office of Public Works and John Curtin for their “heroic work”.

  “Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) have invaded south Roscommon…they have adopted a scorched-earth policy not too dissimilar to what Putin has done in Ukraine. Everything in our turlough is dead”.

  Cllr. Fallon criticised what he described as “absolute silence” from the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service and proposed inviting members of the body to Lough Funshinagh.

  He also called on local MEPs to raise the matter in Brussels and urged the Council’s executive to write to all Government parties about the current situation.

  “It is not possible for me to return to local people and tell them all hope is gone,” he said.

  Cllr. Tony Ward said it was “deplorable that the objectors now seem to winning”.

  “I still hope the Council will continue in their fight for the people…no one wants to be relocated, the local people have been farming there for generations. Walking away now is not good enough,” he said.

  Cllr. Ward said Ireland hadn’t transferred its laws to the EU and questioned what would happen if the Chief Executive was unable to act during future emergencies.

    Cllr. John Naughten described it as a “terrible day for the county, particularly the people around Lough Funshinagh” and said it was a “disgrace” that the situation had been allowed to develop.

  Cllr. Donal Kilduff was visibly angry as he addressed the meeting, and was critical of the bureaucracy around such issues.

  “I’m devastated about this outcome…the whole situation is ridiculous. I said over a year ago that we need to look at ourselves and how we govern. We’ve tied ourselves up in knots because we’ve created so much red tape,” he said.

  Cllr. Kilduff added that the law had not served the country well in this situation and expressed anger towards Friends of the Irish Environment.

  Cllr. Emer Kelly said: “Any group which treats communities, families and people in the manner that has been experienced by those around Lough Funshinagh are friends of no one.

  “They do not care about people and I would go as far as to say that they do not even care about the habitats around Lough Funshinagh that are being destroyed,” she said.

  Cllr. Kelly added that FIE had put the court case above the environment and said there was something wrong with the legal system if Irish and EU law could not recognise the importance of acting in favour of the people of Lough Funshinagh.

  There was widespread support across the Chamber on Monday for Chief Executive Eugene Cummins as well as the Council executive and OPW for their efforts to carry out works at Lough Funshinagh.