A judge in the High Court has ruled that current flood relief works at Lough Funshinagh do not violate a standing injunction.

The original relief works – to construct an overflow pipe to divert the water into the River Shannon – were halted in August after an environmental lobby group successfully objected to the plans in the High Court.

Roscommon County Council subsequently retained the services of engineering and environmental consultants to provide advice and, following analysis, the local authority was informed how it could lawfully carry out an “emergency solution” without needing approval from An Bord Pleanála or any other third party.

Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), who took the initial court action to halt the works, then alleged that Roscommon County Council was in contempt of court by continuing with the works.

However, Judge Simmons has ruled today that the county council’s actions do not violate the original injunction, allowing works to proceed.

Reacting to this development, Jim O’Connor, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) county chairperson for Roscommon, said: “[We] have carefully monitored this case and we welcome the decision.

“We must have no more delays to these flood relief works. Rising water levels have threatened many family homes, farmyards and access roads.

“This is an important step in reaching a permanent solution to the flooding at Lough Funshinagh and ensuring that local families and farms are protected,” O’Connor added.

Roscommon County Council announced in mid-October that it would continue with the flood relief works after seeking advice from Malachy Walsh and Partners Engineering and Environmental Consultants, who informed them on how they could proceed without recourse to other bodies.

At the time, the county council said: “With the benefit of that advice and what has been learned from the High Court challenge, the council will carry out interim emergency flood relief works that are necessary, appropriate and lawful to protect persons, property and the environment.

Also around that time, Lough Funshinagh was around 46cm higher than it was at the same time in 2020.