herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

€80m spent on Poolbeg and this is all we have to show for it

SPIRALLing costs: Bill (so far) includes ¤4.3m on PR

A TOTAL of €80m has been spent on the stalled Poolbeg incinerator project -- more than twice as much as previously thought.

The money includes €4.3m on public relations.

Information released up to now had indicated the total splashed out on the delayed plans was €34m.

However, this only accounted for the bill accruing to Dublin City Council.

The capital's three county councils -- Fingal, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown and South Dublin -- also forked out money on the scheme.

"I think people need to be aware of that," Fine Gael's Paddy McCartan told the Herald. "That is the scale of it now."

He added: "I thought that it was originally a folly -- it's now of monumental proportions because when we bring in the four local authorities it has reached this figure."



SCALE

While the overall spend was €80.6m, some €12.1m was subsequently recouped, leaving a net figure of €68.5m, assistant city manager Seamus Lyons pointed out.

Mr McCartan, who represents the south east area of the city, said the amount was a lot of money for a project that "will never go ahead on the scale envisaged". The new data undermines "even more so" the credibility of "those who have brought it to this point", he added.

Of the net sum of €68.5m, the city authority paid 42.64pc (€29.2m), South Dublin forked out 20.8pc (€14.25m), Fingal paid 20.22pc (€13.85m) and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown paid 16.34pc (€11.19m).

Some €25.7m was spent on client representative services and a further €3.31m went on consultancy.

Other costly items included land acquisition (€43.8m), legal fees (€1.8m) and public relations (€4.3m).

The council entered into a contract with US company Covanta to construct the massive facility in Poolbeg but, following delays, the agreement expired in May last year.

Since then, both parties have signed extension letters with a view to eventually recommencing the works. In a recent report to Mr McCartan, the local authority said the date had now been pushed out to February 29 next.

"There is no final date applicable in that, if both parties agreed, such extension letters can continue to be signed indefinitely. It is not anticipated, however, that this will be the case," the council said.

Officials say the so-called waste-to-energy plant "is not suspended".

The city council revealed earlier this year that the construction of the incinerator is being delayed by the reluctance of international banks to invest in Ireland.

comurphy@herald.ie

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