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Monday 25 September 2017

EC calls for end to €30m Poolbeg PR contract

Cormac Murphy

THE European Commission has called on Dublin City Council to terminate a multimillion euro contract relating to the stalled Poolbeg incinerator project.

The original value of the contract – for client representative and public relations services – was in the region of €8.3m.

However, it has cost the council some €30m since it was signed 12 years ago – a €20m overrun.

The original agreement between the local authority and a consortium of RPS and Danish company COWI was signed in 2001.

The Commission became involved in the issue as a result of a complaint to it by two residents in Sandymount, Joe McCarthy and Valerie Jennings.

Following a probe, it wrote a letter in April of this year – the details of which have just come to light – calling on the contract to be terminated.

It is understood the council continues to honour the deal, though it has not commented on the matter.

The latest revelations come after the local government auditor delivered a critical report last December on the management of the Poolbeg scheme to the council's audit committee.

Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy said the Commission's correspondence is "very significant for Dublin City Council".

"We saw overruns in almost every part of the contract itself. It seems that for client representative services, which we're talking about here, (there were) overruns of over 300pc or more," he said.

EXPLANATION

A council spokesman said: "We won't be able to respond today." RPS also did not reply to a request for a comment.

A letter from the Commission, read out on RTE's 'This Week' radio programme, stated the explanation given by Irish authorities for the expansion of the scope of the service contract for client representative and public relation services "did not address all of the concerns of the Commission".

"Therefore, the Commission called on the Irish authorities to terminate the contract, which appears to have been modified in a manner not conforming with EU law," the letter stated.

Irish Independent

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