Friday 11 May 2007

Councillors could block new sewage plant plan

THE POWER to veto controversial plans to build a monster sewage plant in Portrane may lie in the hands of Fingal councillors.
Environment Minister, Dick Roche has told residents he cannot direct a local authority to build a plant.
Minister Roche met a delegation from Donabate Parish Council and Fairshare in the Dáil last Thursday and said any decision to build a plant was in the hands of Fingal councillors.
The initial proposal to build a sewage plant in Portrane which would process sewage for the Greater Dublin Area was contained in the Greater Dublin Strategic Drainage Study, which was commissioned by the seven local authorities in the region.
To date, it was believed that any decision to build a plant will be shared jointly between the seven authorities.
DPC and Fairshare asked if six authorities agreed to proceed with the plant and one authority dissented, would the Minister override the negating council and move forward with building the plant.
Minister Roche said that as a result of the Strategic Infrastructure Bill he coudln’t direct a council to build a large facility in Portrane. If one local authority, say Fingal council, said no, then the project, in law, would be dead.
He reaffirmed this by saying that if a local authority brings a project to light, it is the authority's ‘baby’.
The Minister said he would write to Fairshare and DPC and set out the legal process.
PRO of the DPC, Bob Dowling, said: ‘if the absolute power lies in the hands of Fingal councillors no one ever told us that’.
‘We eagerly await the letter from Minister Roche confirming that power is vested in Fingal hands,’ said Mr Dowling.
The Fianna Fáil candidates in the upcoming election, Cllr Michael Kennedy, Cllr Darragh O’Brien and John O’Leary, all attended the meeting.
Afterwards, they issued a statement saying: ‘It was a fantastic opportunity for the Minister to meet Donabate representatives and inform them of the truth.
‘The truth is that it is Fingal council and the councillors who’ll make the decision to proceed or not. It is not the Department of Environment, Fianna Fail or the County Manager. It is the elected councillors.’
Eimear Cotter
© Fingal Independent

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