Gormley calls for publication of incinerator report

Campaign may be crucial to future of Poolbeg project, warns Green leader

Green Party Leader John Gormley has called for the publication of a report he commissioned as Minister for the Environment, which shows that Dublin local authorities are facing penalties running into the hundreds of millions of euro if a controversial incinerator proceeds.

On Friday he wrote to Minister Eamon O Cuiv calling for the publication of the report and warned that the promoters of the project may try to use the election period to push ahead with their plans while political attention is focussed elsewhere. The Exchequer could be saddled with huge potential costs as a result, he warned.

Deputy Gormley said: “When I was Minister for the Environment, I commissioned this independent report by legal and financial expert John Hennessy S.C. into the proposed incinerator at Poolbeg. Last autumn I forwarded the report to the departments of Finance and the Taoiseach with a view to publication. At the time we pulled out of Government I was in correspondence with the Attorney General about the report’s publication. I am concerned that plans for publication may now be shelved during the election and indeed after a new government takes office.

“I believe it to be in the public interest for this report to be published as soon as possible, as it it identifies potential penalties of up to €350 million if the project goes ahead.

“Under the crazy deal signed by the Dublin local authorities will have to pay significant penalties if they fail to provide sufficient levels of waste to the facility. Now, because of the recession, increased recycling rates and more competition, the councils are collecting nowhere near the 320,000 tonnes a year they are obliged to provide.

“Mr Hennessy’s report makes it abundantly clear that, even with an economic recovery, the councils will face huge difficulties meeting their target, and therefore face hefty penalties.

“I am also deeply concerned at media reports that both Fine Gael and Labour have been holding secret meeting with the promoters of the project, which will also jeopardize hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of euro in investment by Irish firms in new waste facilities.

“The current election campaign may prove to be a crucial period for the future of this project. In 2007, the promoters of the incinerator took advantage of the election campaign to resurrect the project, which was at that time moribund following the withdrawal of the original preferred bidder, Elsam.

“The future of the proposed incinerator has now become an issue in this election campaign. Having commissioned the Hennessy Report and having been aware of its contents for some months, I cannot in good conscience allow debate about this issue to continue during the election campaign without the key facts in the report being known to the public,” he said.

[ENDS]

Contact:
Liam Reid: 087 270 8397

This email was sent to john.dawson@iolfree.ie from the Green Party
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