Dublin City Council criticised over spiralling costs of Poolbeg project

Tuesday 04 December 2012 11.18
Audit of Poolbeg incinerator project carried out
Audit of Poolbeg incinerator project carried out

An audit of the Poolbeg Incinerator project has criticised Dublin City Council for spiralling costs now totalling over €80 million.

The report from the local government auditor found that project management was "weak" and "not adequate".

City Manager John Tierney has apologised for the shortcomings.

However, councillors called for an end to the project and criticised council management for the mismanagement of public funds.

The review of expenditure by the local government auditor report pointed out that consultants costs spiralled from original contract for €8m to over €24m.

This included public relations costs of €3m.

It found that the consultant’s contract breached procedure guidelines by not being reviewed in 2005 and there was a lack of financial records available and no minutes of meetings of the project management board.

The review has requested a detailed report on why the construction cost of new premises for Westway Terminals Hibernian doubled from €11m to €22m.

It was part of a deal to purchase land needed for the incinerator but the council relied on reports from the company's consultants on the relocation cost.

The total cost of the deal including the land purchase and other costs was over €31m.

Fine Gael councillor Gerry Breen compared the controversy to the Greyhound contract and said council management seemed incapable of public procurement.

Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick called for an independent inquiry, while Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said the Poolbeg project should be scrapped.

Mr Tierney said the reason for the increased costs was the amount of "obstacles, complaints and queries" that have arisen in relation to Poolbeg.

He said the lack of documentation has been rectified and every invoice since 1981 is now being examined.

A special audit meeting of the council will be held on 24 January.

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