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Don’t blame the President and the EU for poor construction policy in this country

Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice’s criticism of President Michael D Higgins (Irish Examiner, January 7) for his work in transposing the EU Habitats Directives into Irish law, in 1997, which he claims is impeding efforts to dredge the rivers, is typical hot air as the elections near.

The opposite is true, in that the ‘special areas of conservation’ (SACs) designation under the EU Habitats Directive, of such lakes as Lough Ree, prevented a lot of proposed development during the boom years.

It saved Lough Ree’s conservation status, and more of this country from unfinished ghost estates in floodplains, which would have further exacerbated the existing floodplain problems.

Could it be that the SAC status of the River Suck, and the SAC status of bogs, is sticking in his craw and is in conflict with his own political ambition? I would have no confidence in somebody berating Michael D for his distinguished, honourable career and Fitzmaurice certainly won’t get my vote for his cheap shot at our President. Perhaps Fitzmaurice has the Aras in mind, but that is certainly not the way forward, even in retaining his seat. Ming Flanagan, his nemesis, would not stoop to that level.

Ian Hester


Four mile House

Co Roscommon


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