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Where did the extra €10m on Poolbeg go to?

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POOLBEG: The incinerator landbank. Photo: Steve Humphreys

POOLBEG: The incinerator landbank. Photo: Steve Humphreys

POOLBEG: The incinerator landbank. Photo: Steve Humphreys

GOVERNMENT officials who examined the significant costs associated with the controversial Poolbeg incinerator say they are unable to account for a multi-million euro overrun in spending.

Dublin City Council spent €22m on relocating an existing business in order to facilitate the construction of the incinerator - despite budgeting just €12m for the project.

In a significant finding, the Local Government Auditor said two external reports commissioned by Dublin City Council fail to adequately explain the reasons for the budget overrun. The spending watchdog has raised serious concerns as to why the cost of moving a company and building a new premises to allow the construction of the incinerator ended up spiralling out of control.

And in official audit documents, seen by the Herald, Dublin City Chief Executive Owen Keegan (above) says he is unable to fully justify the extra money spent due to an absence of both key project files and particular personnel associated with the project.

Fianna Fail councillor and the party's legal advisor, Jim O'Callaghan, has called for the "unexplained €10m to be referred to the high-powered Public Accounts Committee (PAC)".

"Dublin City Council now says that because of the absence of project files and key project personnel it will not be possible to provide further material or explanation for the €10m overrun.

homeless

"This haphazard waste of large sums of public money is not acceptable, particularly at a time when the Council is trying to allocate its much needed resources to solving the City's housing and homeless crisis," Mr O'Callaghan told this newspaper.

Cumulative costs on the Poolbeg project to date amount to €97.4m, but €31m of this was incurred by Dublin City Council after it agreed to move Westway Terminals Hibernian Ltd from their site on Shellybanks Road, earmarked for the waste plant.

The deal included a requirement to construct a new premises. The original tender price in 2003 was €11.913m, but the final bill amounted to €22.091m in 2008 - €10m more.

hnews@herald.ie


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