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Dublin councils have spent €91 million on Poolbeg plant so far

Dublin city manager John Tierney says the council is looking to extend the deadline for construction to begin on the site.

DUBLIN’S LOCAL AUTHORITIES have spent a total of over €91 million to date on the stalled proposed incinerator at Poolbeg – and remain committed to ensuring the facility is built.

A report presented to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee, written by Dublin city manager John Tierney, says the deadline for the resumption of work – which is currently set for November 5 – is set to be extended in order to give operators Covanta enough time to secure for the deal.

“Every effort is still being made to commence the project before the end of the year, but it will be at least four to six weeks before the revised date can be confirmed,” Tierney wrote in the report originally supplied to city councillors.

Funding for the project was due to have been finalised by August under the last confirmed schedule.

Tierney said the council remained fully committed to the project, particularly in light of the revised national waste policy published last July, in which environment minister Phil Hogan had “recognised the importance of waste as an energy resource opportunity”.

The report had also outlined the need “to ensure a sufficiency of waste management infrastructure within the State to manage municipal waste”, and the proposals to amalgamate regional waste management plans in which Dublin City Council was likely to be the lead authority for the eastern region.

The councils’ insistence comes in spite of mounting claims from opponents to the plant, who claim the economic downturn means Dublin is no longer producing enough waste to fulfil the local authorities’ deal with Covanta.

€91.1 million between four councils

Dublin City Council and the three adjoining county councils – Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown – have spent a total of €91.1 million on the project so far, though the figure falls to €79 million when cash recouped through commercial rates and other means is included.

Of the total €91.1 million, €52.1 million – has been spent on purchasing land, with a further €25.5 million spent on client representation and €3.5 million on site management.

Just over €3 million has been spent on public relations, about €2 million on payroll costs for project managers, €1.7 million on legal costs, and €337,000 on security for the site. Community consultations have added about €1.67 million to the cost.

Dublin City Council itself has covered nearly 43 per cent of the net €79 million cost, while Fingal and South Dublin have contributed over 20 per cent each and Dún Laoghaire the remaining 16 per cent.

Tierney’s report says the City Council has yet to meet expenses of about €17.5 million, and expects to cover this at about €1.5 million per year – though it intends to recoup the full amount spent on the project once the incinerator gets up and running.

Read: €200m bill for Dublin City Council if it pulls the Poolbeg plug

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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