Roscommon County Council has halted flood relief works at Lough Funshinagh in the county following a High Court case, until a number of environmental studies have been undertaken.

Earlier this month, Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) launched a High Court action against the council over the flood relief works at the Roscommon turlough.

FIE said that the council had not carried out the required environmental assessments for the construction of a 3km pipeline to pump water out of the area.

At least 150ac of land, farmyards and a number of homes are flooded and more are at risk of flooding.

A spokesperson for Roscommon County Council said in the High Court on Wednesday that its 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.

It 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,” the spokesperson said.

No option

Roscommon County Council has said that it 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 council deeply regrets that the expectations of the local community have been dashed

“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.”