‘Hopes dashed and lives paused’

Lough Funshinagh High Court ruling

Roscommon County Council said it “cannot express how disappointed” it was with yesterday’s (Tuesday) High Court ruling which granted Friends of the Irish Environment leave to apply for a judicial review of interim flood relief works at Lough Funshinagh.

  The High Court also imposed an interim stay on construction works being carried out until January 14th, 2022 when the court will consider submissions from the Council to lift the stay.

  In a statement to the Roscommon People yesterday evening, the local authority said: “Roscommon County Council cannot express how disappointed we are for the people of Lough Funshinagh who again have had their hopes dashed and their lives paused by this setback.

  “Roscommon County Council has done everything in our power to allow people to continue to live in their homes and we are satisfied that works were being progressed in a legal manner”.

  At Monday’s monthly meeting of the local authority, a number of councillors expressed their deep disappointment after Chief Executive Eugene Cummins confirmed that FIE had issued fresh proceedings against the local authority.

  Cllr. Laurence Fallon described the works as a “rational solution” and called on FIE to visit the area and see the suffering of residents living there.

  Cllr. Tony Ward said the move was “devastating” while Cllr. Emer Kelly hoped a reasonable solution could be found.

  Fianna Fáil councillor John Keogh, however, said Friends of the Irish Environment “should hang their heads in shame” and Independent councillor Donal Kilduff was critical of the timing of the proceedings.

  Earlier in the week, the Friends of the Irish Environment group said it had “considerable sympathy” for those affected but felt it had no choice but to challenge the interim works.

  FIE claimed the new works project was essentially the same one which was halted by the High Court last August, with the permanent overflow pipe replaced with “floating pipes and mobile diesel generators”.

  The group said it was “not prepared to allow a significant precedent to be created which would be a major regression for public participation rights”.