Dublin Observer’s Cian Ginty on the Incinerator

Dublin Observer

RTE respond to council’s Poolbeg claim

Posted by Cian Ginty Dublin City, News, Poolbeg Monday, September 6th, 2010

RTE has responded to Dublin City Council’s claim it cannot break its contract on the Poolbeg incinerator without incurring costs.

The council made the statement after Prime Time relieved that there is a get out clause in the contract with Covanta.

In response to the city council’s statement, RTE’s environment correspondent, Paul Cunningham, said on Twitter at the weekend: “In the Times [on Saturday], the Council denied something they were never accused of. Always a good strategy when in a tight corner.”

A statement, published in The Irish Times today, the national broadcaster RTE said: “Dublin County Council is wrong. In the report by RTE’s environment correspondent Paul Cunningham, at no point was it said that the council could walk away with no cost.”

“In an interview, Labour councillor Kevin Humphreys said ‘it looks like’
the council could walk away with no cost and ‘if it is possible’ then that’s what should be done… The council should have explained that it was an interviewee, rather than Prime Time which made the statement and that the comment was qualified,” the newspaper quoted RTE as saying.

Elsewhere, The Sunday Business Post reported yesterday that a ‘source’ told them the get out clause could “no longer applied” because the foreshore licence is being worked around by the council seeking a compulsory purchase order for the foreshore lands.

The Business Post also noted that the city manager John Tierney did not mention the break clause in the contract when questioned by Oireachtas committee this year. It also said that waste levels going to landfill have decreased over 50% between 2007 and 2009, making it unlikely that there would be enough waste for the incinerator.

Meanwhile a number of councillors have now called on the release of the Poolbeg contract, ahead of the monthly council meeting this evening.

Dublin City Councillor Bill Tormey is one of the latest councillors to call for the contract on the Poolbeg incinerator to be released or shown to councillors. Cllr Kevin Humphreys (Labour) and Jim O’Callaghan (Fianna
Fail) have publicly made similar requests.

Today on his website, Tormey writes, “Where in the contract is the financial penalty delineated for the party that triggered the get out clause? Where is the €200 million penalty clause for DCC exit in the contract?”

Yesterday he said: “This contract must be made available for inspection by councillors in order to discharge their public duty. At a minimum, the party group leaders on the council must see this document.”

“The level of public distrust with regard to this issue is large and the key underlying problem is the culture of secrecy in the public service in general which has been inherited from the British civil service. The country needs a culture change to improve public administration,” Tormey added.

“I support incineration but not at any price,” he said.