Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Fingal and Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien has criticized Government over its lack of costings that will be incurred in planning for the Greater Dublin Drainage Project at Clonshaugh in North County Dublin.
O’Brien quizzed the Minister on the matter in Dáil Éireann this week, he said, “The prospect of the Greater Dublin Drainage Project being developed precisely as proposed has deeply frustrated people locally over the past number years so it is no wonder that there have been over 14,000 submissions through its public consultation process.
“According to the plans that have been submitted to An Bord Pleanála, sewage will only be treated to the minimum secondary level but surely it makes more proactive sense to ensure the highest levels of modern treatment are applied.
“When I met with Irish Water in June I was assured that the focus of priority was on continuing to upgrade the Ringsend facility by introducing new technologies and increasing its capacity. If that is the case then a series of localised plants are more suitable than the one giant sewage orbital development that has been planned for the North County. This is a project that if completed as proposed, would be four times the size of Croke Park and I do not believe that Fingal should have to bear the brunt of that.
“This isn’t a discussion about the difference of a couple of thousand here or there in taxpayer’s money; this project involves hundreds of millions of euro. I have asked successive Minister’s to carry out a cost-benefit analysis on this plant and repeatedly assured that it would be conducted. Yet years on, it appears one is not available.
“Just this month we learned of the chaos that is the National Children’s Hospital overspend - why is this Government incapable of properly keeping tabs on large capital projects? Irrespective of the construction is permitted to proceed; the State must have a full handle of the costs associated with its plans. That would surely be in line with prudent spending.
“My Dáil colleague in Dublin Bay North, Sean Haughey as well as Dublin Councillors, Eoghan O'Brien and Seán Paul Mahon collectively support An Bord Pleanála’s decision to facilitate an oral hearing on March 20th next. It would be useful however, if we had some idea of spending to date in order to inform residents ahead of the hearing.
“No one, not even the Minister or his Department are in the position to confirm or even estimate how much public money has been spent on this project to date. It is my responsibility as a local elected representative to ensure that there is full transparency in the spending related to this project and I will be ensuring that the Dáil should receive details on the cost..
He concluded, “I remain absolutely opposed to a development of this scale and I strongly believe that the Government should go back and examine its proposal in closer detail.”