THE NUMBER of incinerators needed in the future sparked a clash between Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Green Party yesterday.
Mr Ahern said four incinerators would be needed, a fortnight after Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley declared Ireland might need only two.
There are no fewer than eight incinerator projects at various stages of the planning process, however -- and Mr Gormley has declared that he cannot interfere with that conveyor belt.
Mr Ahern said: "There are major applications for incinerators in the planning process. Perhaps we will not need eight incinerators -- four was the number mentioned in a number of reports."
In two applications, the capacity being sought is higher than what was originally planned, the taoiseach noted.
But he added: "If we go with the most modern technology we would not need the number that had been envisaged."
The difference led to Opposition claims that the taoiseach was "talking up" the number of incinerators needed, whereas Mr Gormley had been talking it down.
Fine Gael spokesman Phil Hogan said there was a split between the coalition partners on incineration. The Government's waste management strategy was "in complete disarray," he said.
"There is a rift between John Gormley and Bertie Ahern a mile wide," he added.