Uncertain Future For Poolbeg Incinerator

Incinerator 1995 (replace pic on pg 4)

Dublin City Council voted to abandon the Poolbeg incinerator project recently. The project, which has already cost the city €96 million, has been embroiled in a contentious battle between local residents in Dublin 4 since its inception as far back as the 1990s.

“We have a real opportunity to put behind us this disastrous project,” says Labour Cllr. Dermot Lacey. “Let’s once and for all bin this incinerator and give Dublin a chance to get our waste strategy right.”

In recent years, the project has become somewhat of an ongoing embarrassment for the City Council. In December 2012 a report, conducted by the Local Government Auditor, found that the Poolbeg project was “weak” and “not adequate”. It slammed the City Council for spiralling consultancy costs that had broken the €24 million mark, which in turn “breached procedure guidelines”.

In February of this year, the project faced another disaster after reports surfaced that the City Council had paid €200,000 a month for PR and security at Poolbeg. In January, the City Manager, Owen Keegan, said the Poolbeg project had proved to be “extremely challenging”.

“This is another Quarryvale,” says former Sinn Féin Councillor for Pembroke South-Dock, Daithí Doolan. “When they took the planning powers away from councillors after Quarryvale this is what happened. The worse decisions have been made, not by Councillors, but by the bureaucrats in City Hall and in the Customs House.”

When asked to comment, Dublin City Council said the City Manager will “submit the business case (a plan about the project) to the full Council before any final decision is made to proceed with the project.”

Left: A child protests against the incinerator.
Photo by Kim Haughton.

By Liam Cahill