Poolbeg incinerator to be operational in 2017, two decades after plans began

Proposed site of the Poolbeg incinerator

Niall O'Connor

THE Poolbeg Incinerator is set to come into operation by the end of 2017 – almost two decades after it was first earmarked for the Sandymount site.

The project, which has been dogged by years of controversy, will see the construction of a multi-million euro facility that has the capacity to burn 600,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Work on the Dublin 4 site began in October, despite Dublin city councillors voting to scrap the proposed incinerator altogether.

After several delays, Dublin City Council has now been told that the incinerator will be in operation by the end of 2017.

The company behind the project, New Jersey-based waste firm Covanta, is expected to spend almost €500m on its development.

A briefing document provided to city councillors states that plans are afoot for a community gain fund which will be worth over €2m for local projects.

Ten membership applications have also been received ahead of the establishment by the council of a community liaison committee.

“Ten applications have been received from community groups, sports groups, schools and businesses for membership of the committee. A chair has yet to be selected,” the document says.

The Poolbeg incinerator plant was first proposed in 1997 but has faced numerous legal and political delays, including an unsuccessful complaint made to the European Commission that the project was in breach of state aid rules.


City councillors at several junctures voted down the proposed incinerator.

The decision by the current management to proceed was one of the most significant taken since Owen Keegan succeeded John Tierney as Dublin City Manager.

The new start date for the project was revealed only days after fresh guarantees were iss-

ued surrounding the future of the landmark Poolbeg chimneys.

There had been concern that the two stacks would be demolished after ESB chief Pat Doherty warned “it may not be possible” to leave them standing.

But the ESB promised to carry out “essential maintenance work” on the structures in a move that was widely welcomed by local residents.

The decision was made after initial assessments were carried out that indicate there are no significant structural issues or concerns.

However, remedial work is needed to prevent further


The works will include placing a steel cap on the top of each chimney to prevent rainwater ingress and damage.

This phase of maintenance has already begun on one of the chimneys, while work on the second will take place in the autumn.

Nonetheless, local representatives have vowed to continue to campaign to have the chimneys listed as protected structures in a move that has gained significant support.