An emergency overflow pipe is to be installed from Lough Funshinagh in Co. Roscommon to the River Shannon, in a bid to tackle the ongoing flooding issues.

In response to a letter received yesterday (Wednesday, May 19) by the Office of Public Works (OPW) from the chief executive of Roscommon County Council, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has confirmed that the OPW will supply resources so that the emergency works can commence without delay.

The minister pledged his support for the council’s planned intervention at Lough Funshinagh to stop the immediate risk of flooding posed by the lake’s high water table to properties and public roads in and around the area.

Flooding levels next winter

Speaking to Eugene Cummins, the council’s chief executive, the minister reassured the local community “that we stand by you and will assist you with the emergency works required”.

“I promised full government support in January to Roscommon County Council to help avert damage from potential flood and, having received the urgent appeal for assistance, I have instructed the OPW to provide whatever resources are required in terms of labour or equipment to facilitate the council’s preventive flood mitigation works,” the minister added.

The council’s decision to intervene is prompted by recent reports and a hydrological update on Lough Funshinagh it has received which predicts flooding levels next winter will exceed previous records and which pose a risk to life should the temporary interventions such as continuous defensive pumping and the raising of public roads fail.

Starting construction on the overflow pipe now will ensure enough time to lower the water level of the lake in advance of next winter.

Lough Funshinagh ‘the ever-expanding lake’

Fianna Fáil senator Eugene Murphy has been vocal about this issue and said earlier this year that people in the area are in “a desperate situation” due to the flooding.

“This turlough has expanded and expanded since 2016 and we are now at a situation whereby at least seven families will have to leave their houses and farmlands – that’s the gravity of the situation,” the senator said.

“Lough Funshinagh was the case of the disappearing lake but now it’s the ever-expanding lake and we are acutely aware of the ongoing flooding issues in the area.”

The senator also noted that the OPW had stated that there was “no viable cost effective or sustainable solutions to alleviate flooding”.