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Controversial Poolbeg plan gets green light from EU

But TD Kevin Humphreys still thinks the plans should be scrapped, saying today it is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has approved measures by Dublin local authorities for the Poolbeg incinerator project, saying today they are in line with EU state aid rules.

The Commission had been investigating the contract the four local authorities had with the company Convanta to build the waste-to-energy plant at the Dublin location. The complaint lodged against the plans claimed this agreement breached regulations on state aid and procurement.

However the Commission said today that as the authorities see the project as a business opportunity with a fair return on investment, it involves no state aid. It said the investigation showed that the project “will be carried out on terms that a private investor operating in a market economy would have been accepted”.

The facility will be a combined heat and power system that uses municipal solid waste as fuel to generate electricity. It is expected it would process some 550,000 tonnes of waste each year.

Plans have been met with strong opposition, with Dublin City councillors voting to scrap the plan in March. City Manager Owen Keegan warned at the time that abandoning the project would cost around €160 million.

Today TD Kevin Humphreys said the local authoroties should still scrap the plan, despite the Commission’s decision, calling it a “major waste of public money”.

“Dublin City Council has already spent €96 million on the project and a further €10 million on a useless district heating system bringing to €106 million the amount wasted so far,” he commented.

He called on the Keegan to ensure no final decision is made until a new city council is elected.

The Green Party’s MEP  candidate for Dublin Eamon Ryan also called on Dublin City Council to abandon the plans. He pointed out that other investigations had revealed “a litany of failures of policy and administration” like the lack of a formal business plan, failure to track expenditure in detail.

“The Council’s assumptions about where the waste will come from no longer stack up,” he said. “Through this deal, we will be tied in to feeding the incinerator and will have to bring waste from all over the country into the centre of Dublin to be burnt. That makes no economic, environmental or energy sense.”

Related: Company behind Poolbeg incinerator will ‘see how it plays out’>

More: Dublin City councillors vote to scrap Poolbeg plan>

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