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High court case over infamous Roscommon flood works to be heard after Easter

Jan 14, 2022 17:01 By Shannonside News
High court case over infamous Roscommon flood works to be heard after Easter High court case over infamous Roscommon flood works to be heard after Easter
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The court has adjourned a decision on whether the works can restart in the meantime until the end of this month.

A High Court action over a controversial Co Roscommon flood relief scheme won't be heard until after Easter.

The Friends of the Irish Environment group have brought proceedings against Roscommon Co Council's plans to construct of a 3km pipeline. designed to take water from Lough Funshinagh, a seasonal lake 12 km from Athlone to nearby Lough Ree.

Works on the flood relief measures have been halted by court order, with an updated decision on the stay now adjourned until the end of the month.

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The council says its carrying out the works to help alleviate severe flooding, which it claims threatens the homes of people living close to Lough Funshinagh, a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Last month FIE secured permission to bring judicial review proceedings aimed at setting aside the council's decision of October 14th 2021 approving the emergency flood relief scheme.

The Court also granted a temporary stay on any further works on the scheme from taking place.

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In its pre-trial motion the council urged the judge to lift the stay on the works.

Represented by Neil Steen SC the council said that work needs to recommence very soon if anything meaningful is to be done on the project this year.

Given the risk to homes of people living near the lake, and the fact that it was accepted that the Council has an arguable defence to the claim against it, Mr Steen said that the balance of justice favoured the lifting of the stay.

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Over 57% of the construction work on the project has been carried out on the scheme.

Opposing the application James Devlin SC, instructed by solicitor Eoin Brady SC, for FIE said that the balance of justice favoured keeping the stay in place until the case has been decided.

FIE says that the council's proposed scheme, irrespective of what method it uses to pump large volumes of water from one location to another, will have a significant impact on the lake, which is designated a Priority Habitat.

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However, after hearing submissions from the parties the judge decided to adjourn the stay application for a period of two weeks.

This was done to allow the state respondent's time to make submissions on the matter and to allow the parties to consider a recent relevant judgement delivered by Mr Justice David Holland.

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