AN EMBATTLED John Gormley last night strenuously rejected claims he told lies regarding the Poolbeg incinerator in a bitter war of words with one of his constituency rivals.
The row between Labour’s Ruairí Quinn and Green Party John Gormley followed a series of heated statements on who attended a meeting in Croke Park and made an oral submission against the proposed incinerator in their constituency of Dublin South East. The incinerator was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála on Monday.
Mr Quinn told Newstalk yesterday: “This man told lies in relation to my presence in Croke Park some months back when he we were in a taxi together and were photographed together... He will cite with crocodile tears in three or four months’ time that because of the compensation cost to the taxpayer he cannot instruct Dublin City Council not to proceed with the incinerator.”
However, the Environment Minister last night described the use of the word “lies” as disgraceful and unacceptable.
“I didn’t tell lies, I told the absolute truth. What I said yesterday was Ruairi Quinn didn’t bother his barney to turn up to make an oral submission to the An Bord Pleanála hearing,” he said.
Mr Gormley said that if the records are checked, it would show he was the only TD to make an oral submission.
“What’s killing Ruairí is that people are beginning to see that he and his party were actually responsible. They inserted into the Waste Management Act a proposal for incineration which was cited by the inspector yesterday.”
Earlier in the Dáil, the minister came under fire from opposition parties after planning was granted for Poolbeg. However, the Taoiseach insisted the minister does not have the powers to reverse the decision to build the incinerator, which will burn up to 600,000 tonnes of rubbish a year.
Yesterday, during leaders’ questions, Labour’s Eamon Gilmore and Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny raised the Green Party chief’s consistent criticism of the proposed incinerator when in opposition.
“Mr Gormley must be the first politician ever that found on appointment to ministerial office that he has less power than when he was an opposition TD,” said Mr Gilmore.
Claims by Mr Gormley that plans for the incinerator could be made “redundant” were also dismissed by the Fine Gael leader who asked if this was now the government’s official stance.