In Court yesterday, Roscommon County Council’s legal representatives stated that the Council acted for urgent humanitarian reasons to prevent flooding in exercise of its powers under the Local Authorities (Works) Act, 1949, but accepted that there are further obligations under the Environmental Directives that the Council must comply with. Mr. Justice Simons of the High Court commended the Council’s approach to the litigation. The situation arose because the obligations under EU environmental law have not been transposed in respect of the Local Authorities (Works) Act, 1949.
Roscommon County Council has been left with no option but to accept that flood relief works at Lough Funshinagh cannot continue until environmental studies have been undertaken. The Council will not spend any more valuable time on litigation, but instead will move forward with environmental assessments as soon as possible.
It is disappointing that it is going to take a bit longer to deliver a solution to the flooding hardship that the local community has to continue to endure.
The Council deeply regrets that the expectations of the local community have been dashed. It was always the case that the works were being carried out to protect and keep the community safe. The legal challenge faced by this Council highlighted the legal obstacles that exist even when urgent works are required. Consideration should be given as to the transposition of EU law to apply to circumstances where such emergency intervention is required.