herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Council anger over Poolbeg project report

The Poolbeg chimneys
The Poolbeg chimneys

FURIOUS Dublin City councillors voted overwhelmingly to reject a report that paves the way for the controversial Poolbeg Incinerator to get the go ahead.

A meeting of the council was branded a "charade", because elected representatives have no say in whether the project will go ahead.

Instead, the ultimate power to sign off on the 550,000-tonne capacity plant is with Dublin's four, unelected council area managers.

There was cross-party, almost unanimous rejection of the report, which was formally presented by Dublin city chief executive Owen Keegan.

Opponents

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey was among the most outspoken opponents of the drive to push the project through.

"I think that this is one of the saddest meetings of the council that I have attended.

"We all know the meeting is a charade," he said.

He said that the council had voted against the proposal on around 30 occasions.

"The city manager and the officials in the Custom House are acting in a deliberate act of defiance of democracy," he said.

Mr Lacey added that he would support any action and any degree of protest against the project.

A decision to give the controversial incinerator the go ahead was due "within weeks", despite the opposition of elected representatives.

A report was circulated to councillors, which stated it represented value for money.

The document said the city stands to earn as much as €155m if the waste-to-energy plant was built.

However, it said that costs of €105m would have to be written off if it was axed.

The decision to proceed is an executive function of management at the four Dublin local authorities - meaning elected politicians have no say.

Councillors in Fingal voted narrowly in favour of the project last night, while Dun Laoghaire Rathdown opposed it. Neither vote will affect the final decision.

Democracy

Green Party leader, Eamon Ryan, criticised Environment Minister Alan Kelly for not speaking out on the issue.

Mr Ryan said that it appeared that the purpose for the incinerator had changed, with planning on a national basis.

However, a spokesman for the minister said that Mr Kelly had no role in relation to the incinerator.

He added that the preparation and adoption of a waste management plan was the statutory responsibility of the local authority or authorities concerned.

hnews@herald.ie

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