The Minister for the OPW says Roscommon County Council needs to begin the planning process to develop an engineering solution to flooding at Lough Funshinagh.
Patrick O'Donovan has responded to a letter written by the CE of the Council Eugene Cummins earlier this week where he pleaded for state agencies to react to the crisis in the Rahara area.
The Council chief claimed that the OPW needed to provide the estimated €1.5m cost for the design and planning process associated with installing an overflow pipe recommended by a report last year.
However, the project was ruled out on cost grounds by the OPW and Cummins suggested it could take three years to build - which he claimed would be of no comfort to families already affected by flooding.
The Minister goes on to say that the proposal to build the pipe could raise concerns over the special area of conservation status the turlough currently enjoys - despite the rising floodwaters.
Minister O'Donovan also says the Council chief should convene a meeting of all the relevant State bodies at official level as soon as possible to identify further actions to be taken to address the issues.
The letter is reproduced below:
Dear Mr. Cummins,
Thank you for your letter of 26 January, 2021 in relation to Lough Funshinagh.
I am very aware of the significant impact, distress and anxiety on communities
that flooding and the continuing threat of flooding has. I have seen at first hand
the devastating impact of flooding on people, their homes and farms. My
thoughts and sympathies are with all in the area that are being affected by the
flooding and the risk of flooding from the Lough. I want to pay tribute to the
resilience and strength of the community and I want to assure all those affected
that I and the Government are fully committed to finding an effective and
sustainable solution to address the flooding on Lough Funshinagh as soon as
I must also recognise and I appreciate the significant efforts that the staff in
Roscommon County Council have been making to assist householders and
protect property in the vicinity of the Lough. As you know, the report by Malachy
Walsh and Partners which was commissioned by the Council identified that the
flood risk could be eliminated by providing an overflow to the east. However, the
proposal to construct an outflow at the lake may raise environmental concerns
with regard to the current designation of the turlough.
I have written to Ministers Malcolm Noonan, T.D. and Charlie McConalogue T.D.
in relation to the matter as well as forwarding them your letter of 26th January
2021 for consideration.
In order for this to progress, Roscommon County Council, as the lead agency,
will have to initiate a planning process in relation to an engineered solution. The
Office of Public Work’s engineering staff from our Regional Office in Headford
are available to support you in this process.
I would ask you as the CEO of the lead authority to convene a meeting of all the
relevant State bodies at official level as soon as possible to identify further
actions to be taken to address the issues. I can assure you that I and the
Government will play our part in providing every support and assistance possible
to alleviate the plight of the community in the vicinity of the Lough.