Covanta, the company behind Dublin's controversial incinerator at Poolbeg, has written-off €16.5m for work undertaken on the project up to the end of September.

In its quarterly update to the markets, Covanta said a further €5.3m in expenditure can be recovered by way of insurance.

RTÉ News asked Covanta if today's statement meant the company could only claim €16.5m in compensation if Dublin City Council terminated the Poolbeg contract.

While stating the company intends on proceeding, a Covanta spokesperson said: 'Given that the parties continue to progress the project, it is not appropriate for us to comment on possible compensation.'

In a conference call with investors today, Covanta CEO Tony Orlando described Poolbeg as 'an unusual situation'.

He added that while it would be 'a real shame' for the project to die, 'I can assure you we will only invest if and when it makes sense for Covanta.'

Mr Orlando said because all contractual conditions had not been reached by last month's deadline: 'that means we have no obligation to proceed with the project on the original terms.'

He said: 'At this point we intend to move forward only after project financing is secured, and given the uncertainty created by the environment, we have determined it is appropriate from an accounting perspective to write off our entire investment, net of recoverable amounts.'

Mr Orlando continued: 'We would love to be part of such a terrific solution to a real problem. If the Irish policy makers can agree to convert their waste into clean energy, then I'm optimistic we can address everything else.'