Fingal bucks the trend to support Poolbeg Waste to Energy project.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I am pleased that Fingal County Council voted to support the decision of the Dublin local authorities to proceed with the waste to energy project at Poolbeg at our meeting this evening. Councillors voted 19 to 16 with three abstentions for my motion that Fingal support the decision to proceed with the €500 million project. Fine Gael, Fiannal Fail, Labour and some independents supported the proposal with Sinn Fein, the Green Party and Anti Austerity members voting against.

Digging holes in the ground and burying our waste is Stone Age technology. Waste to energy has become a preferred method of rubbish disposal in the EU, and there are now 420 plants in Europe equipped to provide heat and electricity to more than 20 million people. Almost every modern city is availing of this technology but opposition here is based on ignorance and political cowardice.

With all our landfills in Dublin now closed and no proposals to open new ones, all of our refuse is trucked to landfills down the country or shipped abroad. In fact we are exporting over 300,000 tons of waste each year to WtE plants in Denmark, Holland and Swedan. This is likely to increase significantly with the uptake in the economy.

The project has cost some €105 million to date much of which would have to be written off were the project to be abandoned. The project was granted planning permission in 2007 but was delayed when former Minister for the Environment John Gormley of the Green Party refused to grant a foreshore licence. Not alone did this add additional costs to the project but could have provided construction jobs at a time and place where they were so badly needed.

A motion to reject the project by Councillor David Healy of the Geen Party, a former government adviser to Minister Gormley, was defeated by the same vote.

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