THE millions spent by the four Dublin authorities towards the cost of developing the controversial Poolbeg incinerator must be reimbursed by the Government if the project is terminated, Fingal councillors have said.
They have also heavily criticised Green Party TD John Gormley, saying he is "acting like a private citizen looking after his back yard" rather than as the Environment Minister.
Fine Gael's Tom O'Leary told a Fingal County Council meeting that the minister was "abusing his position" and "can't make up his mind" about the incinerator, claiming he had prevaricated for two years.
Cllr O'Leary said the four Dublin councils would have a liability of "something like €60m" if the incinerator did not proceed, and this would be a "criminal waste of resources".
His party colleague Anne Devitt also said that Mr Gormley had prevaricated for two years and was acting against Government policy.
She said the Poolbeg incinerator, and a new regional landfill in Fingal, were both part of the Dublin Regional Waste Management Plan, and claimed that Fingal Council's and its councillors' responsible position on developing the landfill site at Tooman, near Lusk, was being undermined by Mr Gormley's "irresponsible" position on developing the incinerator.
Labour's Ken Farrell, who tabled an emergency motion, called on the Government to reimburse the total outlay of the four Dublin authorities if the Poolbeg incinerator did not go ahead.
At present, the contract for the Poolbeg incinerator is set to undergo a lengthy review -- but Dublin City Council officials have already said they will continue to pursue the outstanding permission for a foreshore licence which the incinerator requires to operate.
The review, which will last until May 2011, was triggered because conditions set out in the original contract have not been met. Last week, Dublin City manager John Tierney said terminating the contract was effectively off the table as it would cost a lot of money, and could expose the Dublin councils to claims through the courts.
Cllr Tom Kelleher (Lab) claimed that Mr Gormley was "behaving like a private citizen looking after his back yard".
He described the delay in the project as "shocking", and argued that Mr Gormley's "negligence" was "criminal".
Fingal chief David O'Connor said his concern was to safeguard Fingal County Council whatever decision the Government made.