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Saturday 7 December 2019

Poolbeg vote branded a 'charade' as managers get final say

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

CITY councillors voted overwhelmingly to reject a report that paves the way for the controversial Poolbeg Incinerator to get the go ahead.

But the meeting of Dublin City Council was branded a "charade" because elected representatives have no say in whether the project will go ahead.

Councillors in Fingal narrowly voted in favour of the project last night, while Dun Laoghaire Rathdown councillors opposed it.

However, none of these council votes will affect the final decision.

Instead, the ultimate power to sanction the 550,000-tonne capacity plant is with Dublin's four, unelected, council area managers.

There was almost unanimous cross-party rejection of the report at the city council meeting, where it was formally presented by Dublin city manager Owen Keegan.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey was among the most outspoken opponents of the drive to push the project through.

"I think that this is one of the saddest meetings of the council that I have attended. We all know the meeting is a charade," he said.

He said that the council had voted against the proposal on around 30 occasions.

"The city manager and the officials in the Custom House are acting in a deliberate act of defiance of democracy," he said.

Mr Lacey added that he would support any action or protest against the project.

A decision to give the controversial incinerator the go-ahead was due "within weeks", despite the opposition of elected representatives.

The document said the city stands to earn as much as €155m if the waste-to-energy plant is built.

However, it said that costs of €105m would have to be written off if it is axed.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan criticised Environment Minister Alan Kelly for not speaking out on the issue.

However, a spokesman for the minister said that Mr Kelly had no role in relation to the incinerator.

Irish Independent

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