Thursday 26 August 2010

Call for revision of Poolbeg contract

Minister for the Environment John Gormley said today he would not be "browbeaten or intimidated" by anyone into issuing a foreshore licence for the €350 million Poolbeg incinerator.

Speaking on RTÉ radio this morning, Mr Gormley reiterated his opposition to the project, which is to be located in the Green Party's leader's constituency of Dublin South East.

He also called for a renegotiation of the Poolbeg contract between the US developer Covanta and the Dublin city councils and said he was ready to sit down with the principals involved to discuss a way forward on the issue.

Mr Gormley denied he was opposed to the controversial incinerator simply because it would be situated in his backyard.

"It is untrue that I am saying that because of some Nimby (Not in my backyard) concern that I'm saying this should not go ahead. The fact is that the biggest sewage plant ever constructed in this country was built a stone's throw from my own front door. Why? I accepted it and believed it was a good idea," he said.

The Minister said the Poolbeg incinerator should not be constructed because the contract between the councils and the US developer Covanta stressed that 320,000 tonnes of waste would have to be supplied or else the councils would be forced to a fee to the firm.

Mr Gormley claimed the taxpayer would end up paying for the shortfall.

"Why should we go ahead with a plant with 600,000 tonnes when we know for a fact that Dublin City Council cannot supply 320,000 tonnes and the taxpayer will end up picking up the tab? Why should we go ahead with that? It would be irresponsible to proceed," he said.

Mr Gormley added that he believed the contract between the councils and Covanta needs to be renegotiated. He said he didn't believe the contract is one that can be fulfilled without changing waste policy.

The Irish Times revealed last week that the incinerator project is set to face further delays and costs following a decision by Dublin City Council to compulsorily purchase 65 plots of land along the coastline.

The council has been asked by Covanta, the company developing the incinerator, to buy the land because it has not yet received the foreshore licence which would allow the company use water from the river Liffey for a cooling system for the incinerator.

By taking ownership of the land, the council would no longer need the licence as it would have automatic access to the river water.

Irish Times

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