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Minister urged to take over Poolbeg 'mess'

DUBLIN councillors want the Government to take control of the Poolbeg incinerator project after a report highlighted serious management inadequacies and rising costs.

The council's internal report, which is a review of a Government audit carried out in 2011, highlighted a lack of governance surrounding the council's management of the project.

According to the report, "procurement rules were breached" due to the appointment of consultants who were paid a total of €28m compared to the original contract for €8m.

In addition, the report noted how it cost the council €31m to relocate and construct a new premises for Westway Terminals Hibernian Ltd (WTHL), which was contracted in 2004.

The council, according to the report, did not procure their own consultant but instead relied on reports and invoices produced by consultants appointed by WTHL.

Over the past nine years, council management and external representatives met on just 12 occasions.

The report described the council's management arrangements for the Poolbeg incinerator as "not fit for purpose". It noted how "potential weakness in project governance still remains".

The report's findings have prompted shocked councillors to call on the Government to take over the project "before it costs the taxpayers more money".

Expressing his dismay, Cllr Paddy McCartan (FG) said he is "deeply disturbed" by the findings.

"This is completely unacceptable. It is a complete waste of taxpayers' money and all of those involved need to be held accountable."

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Ind) said he is "absolutely shocked" because the findings are an "out and out scandal".

However, in response to councillors, City Manager John Tierney apologised for the findings, but added that all issues of governance have been addressed and dealt with.

Councillors, however, supported a Fianna Fail motion by voting to have Poolbeg handed over to the Phil Hogan's Department of the Environment.