The Incinerator Contract

The report that Dublin City Council and Covanta have bidirectional get-out clauses was news to me as Leader of the Fine Gael group on Dublin City Council. It was stated on Primetime RTE TV programme on Thursday but denied as inaccurate by anonymous council officials in Saturday’s Irish Times. If it is true, it constitutes an unmissable opportunity to address recent concerns about the devil in the details of the waste management contracts entered into by the four Dublin area councils through Dublin City Council.

Before signing any continuing contract, Dublin City Council should publicly answer the questions which I have formally put to management.

It is my duty to the people of Dublin to hold officialdom accountable for the quality of their decisions and contracts which have huge financial implications for citizens. We must have government that is open, transparent, efficient, accountable and effective. Hiding behind the figleaf of commercial sensitivity provides a smoke screen for mediocrity.

It is most likely that a renegotiated contract would bring tangeable benefits to the public purse. The answers to the questions to Dublin City Managers which I have out below should form a template for a constructive engagement with Covanta. Lets look at the details and re-negotiate in the public interest quickly. I support incineration but not at any price.

Ireland must adopt financial rigour to public projects. Public sector personal hubris must never be allowed interfere with a re-assessment.

The Irish Times also reports that Minister John Gormley has a copy of gthe contract. Why does he not put this document in the public arena so that there can be no obfuscation or confusion.

Q1. Is the gate price per tonne contracted for Poolbeg significantly higher than that charged in the US or tendered in the UK or in existence in other EU cities?

Q2. What are the arrangements regarding revenue from electricity generation between DCC and Covanta?

Q3. Where will the bottom ash and the fly ash be sent for disposal?

Q4. What is the cost estimate of dealing with bottom ash and also dealing with Fly ash?

Q5. When the cost comparisons were made, were the costs of ash disposals and CO2 production included in the comparisons with the alternative Mechanical Biological Treatment of waste?

Q6. How much residual waste was produced in 2009 and is being produced in 2010 in the four Dublin Local Authority areas?

Q7. What are the current projections for residual waste volumes for incineration or other treatment per year over the next 10 years?