Marist College students, Michael Henehan from Barrymore and Fionnan Kilcommins from Kiltoom, decided to focus on the south Roscommon turlough in order to raise awareness of the trauma faced by local residents.
“To be honest, my dad had been working on one of the houses that was recently demolished due to the flooding at Lough Funshinagh and he arrived home one evening scarred by what he saw,” Michael said.
“This shouldn’t be happening in our parish and so we decided to raise awareness of the issue by submitting our project to the BT Young Scientist exhibition”.
Michael and Fionnan’s teachers at the Marist were incredibly supportive of the students’ efforts.
As part of their research, Michael and Fionnan spoke to local residents in Rahara including Tommy Carney of the Lough Funshinagh Flood Crisis Committee as well as councillors Tony Ward and Laurence Fallon. They also spoke with Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), the group which was successful in a High Court action aimed at halting flood relief works.
Michael and Fionnan’s research, they said, found the only sensible solution to save both local wildlife and homes is to continue with the pipeline and to pipe the water into Lough Ree.
“We spoke to Mr. Lowes of FIE and he told us that the proposed overflow pipe would cause flooding at a stream in Carnagh (between Lough Funshinagh and Lough Ree). Cllr. Laurence Fallon then showed us figures which showed the water level would rise by half an inch, which wouldn’t lead to flooding in the area Mr. Lowes referred to,” Michael said.
“Based on our research, paperwork should not stop proposed emergency works to save homes while the debate continues”.
The students’ project received widespread interest at last week’s exhibition, particularly among those living in the midlands.
“We have spoken to Denis Naughten and other TDs and many people from this region took a real interest in it,” Michael said.