Macra na Feirme President John Keane has called for urgent Government intervention in order to safeguard homes and farms at Lough Funshinagh this winter.
The Macra President said the environmental impact at the turlough was significant, especially given that the area is classed a Special Area of Conservation.
Mr. Keane added that local farmers had been farming beside the lake for many years, working with the land to promote biodiversity while practicing climate-friendly farming.
“The rising floodwaters will only continue to destroy habitats and carbon stores while reversing generations of progress and development by the farmers affected,” the Macra na Feirme President said.
“The Government needs to intervene now to resolve this issue for the benefit of both the people and the environment. Standing by and allowing the crisis to worsen is no longer a tolerable option for those living on the shores of the turlough,” added Keane.
The turlough, which has almost trebled in size over the past number of years, now has over 1,300 acres of land submerged, which is an additional 800 acres more than it historically covered at this time of year, according to Mr. Keane.
Since 2015 the area under water has increased with levels in Lough Funshinagh currently at the same height as they were on December 12th.
Roscommon Macra na Feirme hosted a farm walk on September 10th at the farm of Cllr. Laurence and Michael Fallon on the shores of Lough Funshinagh. The large crowd attending the walk heard of the threat of the expanding turlough to farmland, houses, and the environment.
The organisers said attendees saw hedgerows that have been destroyed by the rising waters with a huge loss of habitat for birds and insects. A forest planted some decades ago to sequester and store carbon is wilting and dying due to submerged roots. Grassland that was home to over 100 travelling hooper swans completely submerged with the swans not returning to lands they had visited for generations.
An overflow pipe has been partially completed at Lough Funshinagh but has been halted due to legal objection from environmental group, Friends of the Irish Environment.
Macra na Feirme has now called for urgent action to prevent the crisis from worsening and leading to an environmental and humanitarian emergency.