Plans for incinerator hit legal difficulties
Published 20/08/2010 | 05:00
PLANS by Dublin City Council to buy land needed for the Poolbeg incinerator have run into legal difficulties.
The Department of Finance revealed last night that it does not own 1.75 acres of land in south Dublin, which the council is trying to acquire under a compulsory purchase order (CPO). This means that the true owner will have to be found before the deal can go through.
Earlier this week, the council issued the CPO for 2.65 acres of land to build the plant, which is opposed by John Gormley.
The Environment Minister and local TD was also required to approve a foreshore licence to allow construction of a water-cooling system needed for the €200m treatment facility.
But by seeking to buy the land, the council will not now need such a licence.
The CPO identified 65 separate plots of land that the council needed to buy, of which 44 were supposedly owned by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan on behalf of the taxpayer.
But Mr Lenihan's department said last night: "There are issues to be determined in relation to the ownership of this land.
"Subject to these issues being clarified, the minister will consider his response. The department has sought legal advice."
The CPO process gives landowners six weeks to respond to the enforced sale of their land. If the owner cannot be found, site notices must be placed on the land for a six-week period.
In its order, the council identifies the owners of the lands as the Finance Minister, the Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council itself.
The Dublin Port Company said it only received the CPO notice yesterday, so would have to study it before deciding whether it would oppose the order.
The land is situated beside the Ecocem cement company and includes a right of way to the shoreline from the Pigeon House Road.
Because there is a legal right of way, it means that the public can also object to the CPO.
Damien Cassidy, chairman of the Ringsend, Sandymount and Irishtown Environmental Group, said it was formulating an objection to the CPO.
"If the council gets to go ahead with this land-grab, they will be cutting through our right of way to the Shelly Banks," he said.
Assuming there is an objection, An Bord Pleanala will decide upon the application and is likely to hold a public hearing.
The board is obliged to decide the application within 18 weeks, meaning it could be six months before the matter is settled.
In the meantime, Mr Gormley could decide to grant the foreshore licence, meaning that the CPO would then be withdrawn.
The foreshore licence is needed to build a water-cooling system for the 600,000 tonne capacity incinerator.
It will draw almost 4,000 litres of water a second from the River Liffey, which will cool the plant before being discharged back into the river.
The water will be 9C warmer when it is discharged back in to the river.