Lough Funshinagh: Residents now ‘living in fear’

Lough Funshinagh crisis…

Call for Government leaders to make emergency intervention

Pictured on Wednesday, the water levels at Lough Funshinagh are at their highest this year due to the unprecedented amount of rainfall over the past number of weeks. Pic: Kieran Croghan

Independent councillor Laurence Fallon has called on the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and leader of the Green Party to all visit the area of County Roscommon affected by the Lough Funshinagh crisis.

Cllr Fallon said that the ongoing emergency situation has now reached crisis point.

“The situation at Lough Funshinagh is now at crisis point,” stated Cllr Fallon. “There are homes at high risk of flooding, farmyards and land destroyed, and the rain is continuing to pour and the water levels continuing to rise.

“Water levels are now 200ml higher than in 2021 with no sign of the rains to stop. The community around the Lough is living in fear with elderly home-owners fearing for their houses if levels continue to rise or if pumps fail.

  “If we continue on the current path to a solution, it will be too late to save homes and farms around Lough Funshinagh.

“This is an emergency and it needs emergency intervention. The three Government leaders – the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and the leader of the Green Party – need to come and visit Lough Funshinagh for themselves and find an immediate solution to the devastation that is unfolding here”.

Cllr Fallon continued: “There is no doubt that this is also an environmental disaster. A Special Area of Conservation has been decimated and there is a growing risk of pollution extending over a wider catchment area.

“The incoming Taoiseach, Simon Harris, was just a few miles away from Lough Funshinagh last weekend when he stated that Fine Gael will be the party of the rural community. I urge him to make Lough Funshinagh his first rural community visit when he is appointed Taoiseach and witness the fear and devastation, and the horrendous conditions people are living in, for himself”.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has accused

Tánaiste Micheál Martin of giving an “indifferent response” to the long-running crisis at Lough Funshinagh when she raised the matter in the Dáil recently.

  “Five houses are under immediate threat, another farmyard has been destroyed, older residents are seeing their life’s work ruined and young couples with high mortgages are unable to let their children out the gate” she said.

Deputy Kerrane said that the Tánaiste’s response was to say that while he knew the specifics of the case, he wanted her to come up with a remedy that he could go to the relevant minister with.

Deputy Kerrane: “The remedy is there (but) it is being blocked… that is the problem and that has been the problem for a long time. The Tánaiste knows this.

“In my contribution I made it clear that the message I received along with my colleague Chris MacManus MEP and members of the Lough Funshinagh Flood Crisis Group from the EU Commission Director for Biodiversity, when we met him last month (was that) there is nothing in the Habitats Directive preventing a Member State from having emergency legislation in place where livelihoods are at risk.

“Livelihoods as well as lives have been at risk at Lough Funshinagh now for years, so it begs the question: what are the Government waiting for?

“The crisis at Lough Funshinagh has been allowed to drag on and on while families, farmers and an entire community are left in a disaster zone. This is outrageous and the Government now need to look at emergency action allowable under the Habitats Directive and get the remedy that is sitting there in place immediately”.