herald

Friday 19 July 2019

€90m already spent on Poolbeg incinerator plan, now DCC will spend more

A woman walks her dogs along Sandymount beach.
Photo: Steve Humphreys
A woman walks her dogs along Sandymount beach. Photo: Steve Humphreys

WE'VE already stumped up €90m without a single brick being laid and now there is to be another review of the Poolbeg incinerator.

Taxpayers are to be forced to cough up for private consultants to again study how the massive project will work near Ringsend in Dublin.

Dublin City Council is about to appoint an external company to carry out a fresh assessment of the €350m scheme, a move which had been demanded by councillors.

But the council has denied the move is to examine the viability of the project, even though Fine Gael says this is the case.

A key focus of the assessment will be whether a facility with a capacity to burn 600,000 tonnes of rubbish a year is sustainable, Cllr Paddy McCartan (FG) told the Herald.

However the council said what will take place is a "risk assessment" relating to company management issues.

"A risk assessment relating to the future governance arrangements for the project is to be carried out at the request of the city council's audit committee," a spokesman said.

"This has no bearing on the viability of the project itself," the spokesman insisted. It's understood the council's incinerator project board have considered submissions from consultants who tendered to carry out the review.

A recommendation is to be made this week and the contract will be awarded. The unsuccessful companies will then be informed and they have two weeks to question the decision.

 

Viability

In the absence of a material query, the review will start on the week of June 24 and is expected to take a number of months to complete.

Cllr McCartan said it is generally accepted a 600,000-tonne incinerator is "too big" and reiterated the viability of the scheme may be called into question by the review. Along with a number of other councillors, he attended a meeting with former city manager John Tierney last month at which the assessment was discussed.

Mr McCartan insisted the latest review "will look at whether the project is viable".

Reports in April suggested the Government could pull the plug on the project if it fails to offer value for money.

The National Development Finance Agency, which recommends whether large-scale capital projects should proceed, will have to reassess it before it is given the go-ahead. It came after Dublin City Council gave waste company Covanta a fourth extension to secure funding.

comurphy@herald.ie

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