Government Repeating Poolbeg Folly With Irish Water

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Acute need for a formal Public Accounts Committee investigation into Dublin City Council’s management of the project 

The Green Party today welcomed reports that the Poolbeg Incinerator project is likely to be dropped and calls on the Public Accounts Committee to formally investigate the actions of Dublin City Council in the mismanagement of this project.

Commenting on today’s news, Green Party Environment Spokesperson, Malcolm Noonan, said, “This was a Celtic Tiger folly which should have been scrapped years ago. We have wasted some €100 million in public money, a lot of which could have been saved if Dublin City Council had co-operated with John Gormley when he was Minister for the Environment.”

“This was always the wrong solution to Dublin’s waste problem. The rise of recycling and a reduction in the production of unnecessary waste killed the project years ago but it has taken the council years to acknowledge that fact. We urgently need to learn lessons so that the same mistakes are not repeated in the roll out of Irish Water and future public projects.” 

“Dublin City Council has serious questions to answer. We already know that they illegally extended a contract with RPS, and the High Court found that they had illegally attempted to prop up the collapsing incinerator project by forcing private waste collectors to use it. The Public Accounts Committee needs to investigate why they agreed to take on Covanta as a private partner without re-opening the tender process. They also need to ask why they signed the agreement with Covanta during the 2007 general election campaign when no government was in place.” 

“More than anything else, this has been a story of an administration system working outside any proper democratic control. The Oireachtas Environment Committee needs to immediately outline what legislative changes are needed so that such an abuse of unelected power never happens again.” 

“The Green Party believes that we cannot export our waste problem, and that the answer to this issue starts at home. Our waste stream is a valuable resource and we can create sustainable employment if we develop waste solutions which are also environmentally responsible. We have the technological know-how to extract valuable metals and other high value items, while organic waste can be used to provide materials which support agriculture and energy policy. The green and brown bins deployed across the city can help to make that happen. The decision to introduce those recycling facilities was pushed through by the Green Party at the same time that Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail voted for incineration. What the other parties didn’t expect was that Irish people would take to recycling in such a way that there was no need in the end for the incinerator. Today marks a small but important victory for common sense and sustainability over short-term thinking and improper bureaucratic control.”

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