DUBLIN City Council was today accused of "throwing money away" after it flew in a top consultant in an 11th-hour bid to salvage the controversial Clontarf flood defence scheme.
City management wrote to Clontarf-based councillors to inform them that a representative from consultancy firm Royal Haskoning in the UK was to travel to Dublin to "discuss the issue relating to the flood risk and the alternatives being suggested to the current proposal".
They also sent several invitations to the local residents and business associations to meet the high-profile expert.
Deirdre Tobin, of the Clontarf Residents' Association, told the Herald that it was felt the council set up the meeting to "discredit" their alternative proposal.
"We've put all our effort, energy, time and money into this whole campaign and then we see these top experts being flown in by city council. We told them we would not be accepting the invitation until after the December 5 vote.
"Of course, if councillors vote down the plan, it will present a tremendous victory for the whole of Dublin." She added: "There's a long way to go and we have to go back to the drawing board and have a full public consultation so that we can protect the area from flooding while still maintaining the incredible view."
The move comes just a week after the council offered an exclusive bus trip for councillors to travel 3km from the city to Clontarf Castle for a similar briefing. No councillor availed of the service. Clontarf-based councillor Damian O'Farrell said the council was "throwing away good money".
"The fact of the matter is that the residents of Clontarf and surrounds do not want the current proposals and Dublin City Council should listen and stop throwing [away] good money time and time again."
Council sources close to the development have admitted that management is "desperate" to get the backing of the councillors on December 5.
All five Clontarf-based councillors, Gerry Breen, Deirdre Heney, Jane Horgan Jones, Naoise O'Muiri and Damian O'Farrell, have indicated their opposition to the plans -- a move likely to shape the overall vote.