The High Court has allowed an Environmental group to bring a fresh challenge against a controversial flood relief scheme being constructed by Roscommon Co Council.
The action has been brought by Friends of the Irish Environment against the council over the construction of a 3km pipeline. designed to take water from Lough Funshinagh, a seasonal lake 12 km from Athlone to nearby Lough Ree.
FIE claims that the council's decision is unlawful, invalid and in breach of EU law.
Mr Justice Garrett Simons, after being informed by Neil Steen SC for the council that some 57% of the pipeline has already been laid, also placed a temporary stay on any further works being carried on the project until January 14th next.
On that date the court will hear submissions from both sides on whether to keep the stay in place until the challenge has been fully determined by the High Court.
Counsel also told the court that with all things going to plan it was hoped to complete the works in March of next year when it is anticipated that the flood waters on the Lough would be at their highest.
In its proceedings, FIE, represented by James Devlin SC, Stephen Dodd SC with John Kenny Bl instructed by solicitor Eoin Brady, seeks orders and declarations including an order quashing the Council's decision of October 14th last.
FIE also seeks several declarations from the court including that the Council erred in law and has breached EU directives on Habitats and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) by screening out the possibility that the proposed development will have significant on the local environment.
It further seeks a declaration that the decision contravenes the 2000 Planning and Development Act.
Last August FIE brought a challenge aimed at halting the pipeline's construction.
That action was resolved after the council accepted it had not fulfilled certain obligations it should have in relation to the works and agreed to remediate works it had already carried out.
FIE later claimed that the Council had breached the terms of the settlement agreement and was in contempt of court.
However, Mr Justice Simons dismissed FIE's application for orders that the Council's CEO Mr Eugene Cummins be attached and brought to court for his alleged contempt.
The council denied breaching any court order and said the remediation plan agreed in August was being complied with.