Flooding at Lough Funshinagh forces road closures and home evacuations

Roscommon County Council say R362 at Coolnageer would close from Friday and hopes it will reopen by August 1st

Two families, including a mother with a young baby, have been forced to evacuate their homes near the Roscommon village of Curraghboy due to worsening flooding at Lough Funshinagh.

The flooding has also forced the closure of part of a busy regional road in the area until the summer because of the ongoing flooding from the lake.

Roscommon County Council announced that the R362 at Coolnageer, Curraghboy, would close from Friday for “the minimum period necessary”. The council indicated that the road would be closed for two-three months and hopes it will reopen by August 1st.

A diversion route has been put in place locally and the council warned there “may be an increased likelihood of delays on these roads as a consequence”.

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In early 2021 serious flooding from the lake threatened a number of homes, forcing an elderly couple to leave their home for a number of months.

In May of that year, Roscommon County Council used emergency powers to begin works for a 2.9km overflow pipe at the lake which it said would bring excess water to Lough Ree. The works were halted following a successful legal action by Friends of the Irish Environment.

In the Dáil on Thursday night, Roscommon’s three TDs raised the issue with the Tánaiste.

“An emergency order can be issued by Government for a temporary measure to get the water moving which will work until a permanent solution is found. That has the backing of the National Parks and Wildlife Service,” Independent Ireland TD Michael Fitzmaurice said. “It has the backing of every politician around the place. I am asking the Tánaiste to do this next Tuesday or sooner if he can.”

Speaking in the Dáil, Tánaiste Micheál Martin agreed that the situation was intolerable for those living in the area, and that “emergency works should be allowed to prevent any village from being flooded”.

“I would argue anywhere that the protection of people’s lives and homes should trump any other consideration. That is my view and I would be prepared to go into court and fight that,” the Tánaiste said.

“I will talk to the Minister for the Environment about whether we can give support to Roscommon County Council to ensure it has a robust position to advance. That may happen in the context of a new engineering solution because that could also face legal action,” he said.

The new OPW Minister of State, Kieran O’Donnell, has met local residents affected by flooding at Lough Funshinagh, and is now due to discuss the crisis with stakeholders.

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