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Poolbeg: A typical fiasco

IT is good news indeed that, even in these recessionary times, a number of Irish companies are "poised" to invest tens of millions of euro in new environmentally friendly waste disposal technologies that will create thousand of jobs.

That is according to the Environment Minister John Gormley.

Mr Gormley was making the point that even if the US firm behind the Poolbeg incinerator pulls out of the project, with an incidental loss of 500 jobs, it doesn't really matter very much.

The company, Covanta, announced yesterday that it had written off its $23m investment in the project and considered it had no obligation to proceed.

From the start, Mr Gormley has obstructed progress on this important project, which happens to be in his own constituency. And he has made it clear he will oppose it for as long as he can.

At first he persistently refused to issue an offshore licence. When that obstruction was circumvented he commissioned a report into the project contract, and he plans to introduce levies on waste companies which, again, could sabotage the project by making it too expensive to use.

Taxpayers will face a massive compensation bill if Mr Gormley goes on like this. The country will face huge fines -- a consequence of our continued over-reliance on landfill, which is in breach of EU directives.

An incinerator in a Green minister's constituency? Perish the thought.

A government minister trying to destroy a project that has been approved by his own department?

Only in Ireland.