Contract for €350m incinerator extended until May
THE contract to build the controversial €350m Poolbeg incinerator has been extended until at least next May, it emerged last night.
But Dublin City Council has come under pressure to reveal details of the contract between the local authority and Covanta, the company involved, to build the incinerator.
The deal was signed on September 4, 2007 and ran for 36 months, which expired at the weekend. But that expiration was a technicality, which has now led to an extension.
City manager John Tierney last night confirmed the date had past and a review period -- previously set at 35 days after the contract ended -- had now been extended to 240 days, which ends on May 2, 2011.
"This gives us time to consider the way forward," Mr Tierney told a meeting of councillors.
Responding to questions, he said that in theory the council was now free to terminate its involvement in the project, which has attracted many objections, but that course of action would likely cost the local authority tens of millions. It has already spent €120m.
"At this stage, we have a right to terminate, but determining our possible liability in the face of a claim is not straightforward," Mr Tierney said.
The project is being built as a Public-Private Partnership between Dublin City Council and Dublin Waste to Energy, which is majority-owned by Covanta.
Under the current plans, it would be able to process up to 600,000 tonnes of waste a year, with the four Dublin local authorities providing 320,000 tonnes of that.
Mr Tierney said that during the extended period of the contract, he and the other city managers involved in the project would have to reflect on the costs.
There has been repeated calls for details of the project to be revealed after it emerged it was due to end last weekend.
Environment Minister John Gormley, who is firmly opposed to the plant, said the process had been "shrouded in secrecy" and the council had to come clean about the costs involved.