MINISTER FOR the Environment John Gormley called for an investigation into a multimillion-euro payment – which he himself sanctioned – to the operators of the Ringsend sewage treatment plant in Dublin, Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton has claimed.
In a Dáil adjournment debate, she said the ABA consortium was paid €38 million for remedial works “it should have done in the first instance”.
She said it was “extraordinary that the Minister who sanctioned this payment has in press statements and media interviews called for an investigation into how the payment was made and went wrong”. Referring to reports the plant was operating at up to 30 per cent above capacity, she said: “it is astonishing the Minister has claimed population growth in Dublin city could not be predicted”.
The Dublin South-East TD said the ABA consortium “did not honour the contract it signed up to”, and was conducting remedial work which should have been carried out “from day one”.
Ms Creighton added: “it is a fundamental flaw of the public-private partnership process that the contracts signed do not include penalty clauses”.
Standing in for Mr Gormley, Minister of State Barry Andrews said that to resolve issues surrounding design and past efforts to deal with the odour issue, “the Minister is arranging for an independent examination of the design parameters of the works to determine whether they adequately addressed existing and projected loads at the time they were approved”.
There is no imminent threat to water quality in Dublin Bay and the treatment plant “is consistently meeting the required effluent standards for treated waste water”. A report the plant was operating beyond capacity “needs to be qualified in order for the full picture to be seen”.
The Irish Times