Cllr. Tony Ward said he was “very disappointed” with comments made by Director of Services, Liam Bergin, regarding possible solutions to flooding around Lough Funshinagh during Tuesday’s meeting of Athlone Municipal District.
Mr. Bergin said that while still in the scoping phase, it was “premature to move to (discussing) solutions” regarding the flooding around the lake.
Cllr. Ward said: “This has been ongoing for three and a half years. I’m very disappointed to hear what you’re after saying. We’ve had three ministers (in this area) in that time, when will it not be premature (to discuss solutions)?”
Cllr. Ward argued that 45 families are affected by the flooding in the area and accused Roscommon County Council of “hiding behind” an OPW cost-benefit analysis, completed last year, which indicated there was no financially viable solution to the problem.
He added: “What does that say? It says that people in rural Ireland (don’t figure) highly enough. If it were anywhere else the cost-benefit analysis wouldn’t apply. The people who live near Lough Funshinagh are decent people but when you hear that (in the Chamber) doesn’t it say it all?”
Cllr. Laurence Fallon said that the cost of doing nothing would be far greater than carrying out flood works. He added that as well as the suffering of families due to damage to homes and farms, the environment was also being destroyed.
Cllr. Ivan Connaughton queried whether funding had ever been provided by then Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran to Roscommon County Council and if the Office of Public Works had been told no work was necessary at the lake.
He said that Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice and local councillors had met with flood victims in recent years and it was estimated that €700,000 would be more than sufficient to install an outflow pipe, which he said was the only viable solution.