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Dropping Poolbeg would have cost €100m - Keegan

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Owen Keegan

Owen Keegan

The proposed waste-to-energy plant in Poolbeg

The proposed waste-to-energy plant in Poolbeg

POOLBEG: The incinerator landbank. Photo: Steve Humphreys

POOLBEG: The incinerator landbank. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Poolbeg Incinerator aerial picture

Poolbeg Incinerator aerial picture

Owen Keegan

DUBLIN taxpayers faced a bill of more than €100m if the controversial Poolbeg incinerator had been scrapped, City Manager Owen Keegan has said.

Mr Keegan has defended the decision to proceed with the energy project, which he admitted has been dogged by difficulties.

The head of the country's biggest local authority said that a decision to scrap the development would have left Dublin's four local authorities with a bill for €105m.

According to information supplied to TDs, more than 40pc of the cost would have been apportioned to Dublin City Council.

Mr Keegan and his executives proceeded with the Ringsend facility despite a motion by the majority of councillors opposing the move. The council's top official admitted that in hindsight such a project may be best suited to the private sector.

difficult

"If we anticipated all the difficulties or changes, a different project would have emerged," he told the Oireachtas Environment Committee.

He added that he acted in the "best of my ability to get out of a very difficult situation".

Mr Keegan, who previously appeared before of the Oireachtas over the Garth Brooks Croke Park concerts, said the proposed facility is consistent with regional, national and EU waste management policy.

The committee heard the waste-to-energy project will generate 300 construction jobs and 100 full-time positions at the site once it is built.

Sinn Fein's environment spokesperson Brian Stanley last night questioned the decision to proceed with the project.

"There are a number of reasons why there is considerable opposition to the building of an incinerator at Poolbeg," he said.

"The original plan was based on the need to cope with increasing waste, but the amount of household waste has considerably reduced over the past 10 years and far more people are now leaving their waste to be recycled. So that justification no longer stands.

"There are also health and safety concerns, particularly given that the company which is proposed to build the plant has had a poor record and been fined many times in the US for breaches of regulations.

"We have had €100m already spent on consultants and plans for a project that has been rejected by the people of Dublin through their elected representatives, who I am confident would once again vote against the proposal if put to them.

noconnor@herald.ie


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