Incineration (part N+1)

More on PoolBeg in today’s Indo.

The article repeats some of the arguments I have been making for a while.

Worryingly, Covanta’s shareholders have began to take notice that Ireland no longer seems so business-friendly. Presumably, Covanta’s shareholders also hold shares in other companies that consider investing in Ireland.

UPDATE: Minister’s behaviour to be investigated by SIPO

75 thoughts on “Incineration (part N+1)”

  1. The most important point to understand about Poolbeg is that stopping it from proceeding will save one job, namely that of Deputy Gormley.

  2. Covanta should buy a few Anglo bonds, because then the government would be bending over backwards to keep them happy.

  3. Indo article: “A source last night said the delay in granting the licence made the incinerator the “most egregious case” of “regulatory uncertainty”.

    “In your language, it’s getting difficult to put lipstick on a pig. This, and a handful of other cases, is making it difficult to make the case to boards of directors in New York to invest in Ireland,” the source told the Irish Independent.”

    Why would this source wish to remain anonymous?

    Failure to grant this licence may save Dublin City Council from a hugely unprofitable contract where they have to subsidise the operation fo the plant because they cannot provide the waste. One wonders why they are so het up about it.

    The plant seems to have been predicated on the four Dublin Councils imposing an anti-competitive (and therefore economically damaging) waste collection regime. Now that the High Court has knocked them back on this, one would have thought they would be happy to be saved from their own recklessness? Or will they be able to import waste from abroad?

    Also, the talk of job creation fails to take account of [unsubsudised by the local authority] jobs being created by other private waste projects going ahead in the absence of the incinerator. Indeed the investment and jobs created by privae waste operators was cited in the High Court cases re Panda and Greenstar.

  4. @Zhou
    No one is (yet) investing in alternatives to the incinerator, so no jobs are created there. The current investments are alternatives to landfill.

  5. What do you base your statement on that no-one is investing in alternatives to incineration? I thought incineration was itself an alternative to landfill!

    It is not possible for one to know what has been invested in planning alternatives and how much investment was on hold pending the resolution of Dublin City Council & Others attempt to assume control over the market.

    From the Panda judgment:

    “Its [Panda’s] overall investment to date in the enterprise has been €14,790,000 (circa), made up of infrastructural and other start up costs, and accumulated losses to February 2008 of €1,272,000. It has about 250 employees of which 100 operate the Dublin business, and has a turnover of €50 million.”

    “On the other hand where there is a public or tendered monopolist, any increase in price will merely be borne by the public, and there will be no constraining force preventing such a situation. Further it will create a situation involving incumbent providers who will be at a significant advantage upon renewable of any contract. There is also the question of what the other competitors are to do in the meantime while they do not have the contract. Many operators who would have been able to operate under the fully competitive system will be forced to exit the market if unsuccessful in their tender. Nor are they likely to invest in the infrastructure needed if they are unlikely to succeed.”

  6. http://www.meathchronicle.ie/news/navan/articles/2010/01/27/3994324-energy-projects-promise-jobs-for-180-people/

    Panda claim to be able to recycle >90% of their waste in a plant costing €21M with a a capacity of 250,000 tons. This would appear to be an alternative to both landfill and incineration.

    If that is true it blows the economics of incineration clear out of the water, in particular Poolbeg where professional fees alone are reported to have exceeded €20M.

  7. According to the EPA approx 60% of municipal waste is biodegradeable (ie can be relatively easily recycled).
    Talk of failing to close the resource loop, you’d think we had a spare planet to pillage.

    It’s insane that this is destined to literally go up in smoke if DCC gets its way.

    Tol – hardly a surprise that no-one is investing when the local authorities won’t dance

  8. I have been trying to find a record of when Dublin City Council signed this deal with Covanta. Is the below accurate?:

    “Dublin City Council says it has successfully concluded negotiations with its private sector partner for the construction of the controversial Poolbeg incinerator….

    Yesterday’s announcement that a contract had been signed came just two days after Minister for the Environment John Gormley reiterated his strong opposition to incinerator contracts of the type proposed for the Poolbeg peninsula.

    Under the terms of the contract, Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd is to design, build, finance and operate the incinerator for 20 years. A key “put or pay” clause requires Dublin City Council to guarantee the waste annually, or make loss of profit payments to the company instead.”

    http://constructireland.ie/News/Waste/Dublin-City-Council-says-it-has-successfully-concluded-negotiations-with-its-private-sector-partner.html

  9. “Failure to grant this licence may save Dublin City Council from a hugely unprofitable contract where they have to subsidise the operation for the plant because they cannot provide the waste. ”

    Bingo! This contract was signed on shitty terms. The process of the signing of the contract and if any bribes were given/taken needs to be investigated. Why did DCC make the taxpayer liable to these loss of profit payments? Was DCC assuming a monopoly on domestic waste? Was this assumption lawful? And what of their conduct towards Panda and Greenstar? Why are they bending over backwards to please a US company without caring about the harm they are causing to two local companies that are already generating jobs?

    It is beyond ridiculous to say Ireland is no longer business-friendly. It was never business-friendly. It was only crony-frienly.

  10. “In your language, it’s getting difficult to put lipstick on a pig.”

    What is this guy trying to say about Irish people and their “language”? 🙂

    Is this like when [the Aprés Match] Liam Brady said he did want to go to the Faroes becasue he doesn’t speak Seagull? 🙂

  11. City Manager John Tierney said last February that he was implementing Government policy. He said €59.5m had already been spent on the project — €34m on acquiring the site and €25.5m in consultants’ fees.

    Tierney told an Oireachtas committee the Department of the Environment had provided €7.5m towards the cost of the incinerator.

    In April Phil Hogan asked Gormley: “The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government was represented on the PPP steering group for this project. Therefore, the Department was involved with it and it was in line with existing Government policy. In addition, some finance was contributed to the project by the Department. Now that the Department is no longer in consultation on it, has the Minister been in contact with Dublin City Council about the implications of the legislation? Also, will there be a contingent liability on the taxpayer?

    Gormley said he hadn’t been in contact with the DCC.

    Gormley has been in office 3 years and he is awaiting another report on the issue.

    His behaviour has been shameful and consistent with the gombeen tradition of Fianna Fáil.

  12. What is ESRI’s expert guesstimate for the future taxpayer liabilities from premature deaths across the city of Dublin from incinerator micro-particles and nano-particles?

    ___________
    Mr Tol knows Het Parools article stating Amsterdam has 1000 excess premature deaths per year from air pollution in Amsterdam.

    These deaths coincide with the expansion of Amsterdam’s large incinerator. The excess is wrt to the Dutch national average. The reasons are “not understood” by world-renowned NL scientists, hopefully not under political control. So should sensible precaution apply by shutting down incineration? According to some Dutch politicians Holland is overpopulated. So NL has no other options.

    ‘Big Incineration’ untruths: DCC & its paid-consultant Mr Rudden of RPS, denies ANY health impacts from ‘modern’ incineration. Just like ‘Big Tobacco’ deniers in the 1950s?

    DCC has already spent in excess of €25 million with captive ‘experts’ such as RPS.

    Judge McKechnie has condemned DCC/RPS for undue influence in a process supposed to benefit the public and for massaging information in other ‘expert reports’.

    At 300 premature deaths across Dublin per year, and at €8 million per death, the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator would cost Irish taxpayers €2.4 Billion per year.

    ——-

    Irelands environment minister – 2007, TD Roach – passively confirmed the death rate in response to a TD Quinn Dail Question.

    ——–

    Covanta’s ticker symbol is CVA. CVA is also shorthand for ” cerebrovascular accident”. PM10, PM 2.5 and PM 1.0 particles cause CVA.

    —————–

    ESRI has been significantly funded by Dublin City Council to do an ‘independent’ report on incineration.

  13. Michael Hennigan – Finfacts Says: July 1st, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    City Manager John Tierney said last February that he was implementing Government policy. He said €59.5m had already been spent on the project — €34m on acquiring the site and €25.5m in consultants’ fees.

    ———————–

    In Blazing Saddles the Black Sheriff also held a gun to his own head.

    DCC apparently signed the secret contract in secret. The contract is against the democratic will of the people of Dublin. Galway Tent cronies come to mind. DDDA practices come to mind.

  14. No one is (yet) investing in alternatives to the incinerator, so no jobs are created there. The current investments are alternatives to landfill.

    @Richard
    The whole objective of the landfill directive is to prevent untreated biodegradable waste going to landfill.
    If you are not aware of the infrastructure coming on line other than this one incinerator then you are way too detached from the waste market to be even commenting on this topic let alone consulting to DCC.

    Are you aware of the 45,000t treatment facility opened last week?

  15. @richard
    Why don’t you give your own views to start a discussion instead of linking a politically motivated and outrageously inaccurate article that contains no analysis of the project pros and cons.
    Do you believe for second that the incinerator will employ 100 people during operation?
    Do you believe incineration is more labour intensive than the alternatives?

    This project is low labour loss leader

  16. Is it any wonder that the country is banjaxed?

    Here we have an issue of abuse of power, public funds and a conflict of interest.

    To the anti-incineration folk, all that doesn’t matter.

    Google will always deliver some supports for a position — whether truths and untruths no doubt.

    A government decision was made in 2007 to choose incineration.

    When Gormley became a minister 3 years ago, rather than cancel the contract and argue for alternatives, he appears to have sought to undermine the economics of it.

    Conflict of interest of course would never be a concern on Planet Bertie and in this case there was a glaring one.

    When the ESRI produced a report on the issue, an insignificant factual error was jumped on and the institute was dismissed as a shower of hucksters.

    So 3 years later Gormley is waiting for another report providing a nice earner, to estimate what it would cost to cancel the contract. Meanwhile, there is a risk of big EU fines if directive deadlines are no met.

    This of course is the way Ireland is run; amateurs often putting local interest ahead of national interest in a system of limited accountability and where decision making moves at glacial pace.

    It’s the system that has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of people while the poltroons sitting in the high temple have State meal tickets for life.

    For those who do not see a problem, you may have if it had been an issue involving a big public investment in the constituency of Gormely’s predecessor Dick Roche.

    Gormely of course would have been prominent in public vilification of low standards and conflict of interest.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose indeed!

  17. Here we have an issue of abuse of power, public funds and a conflict of interest.

    Indeed. A conflict of interest for the Local Authorities in their role as regulator of the waste industry? A conflict of interest for the ESRI, being a state funded independent body of strong reputation, in carrying out private expert reports for commercially motivated parties?

    Abuse of power in unlawfully trying to create a monopoly in the waste collection and processing business?

    Public funds expended in pursuit of a contract signed in direct defiance of the Minister for the Environment? Public Funds expended to hurt jobs and private industry? Public funds expended in marathon legal battles to further Dublin City Council’s unlawfaul actions?

    When Gormley became a minister 3 years ago, rather than cancel the contract and argue for alternatives, he appears to have sought to undermine the economics of it.

    Better than that he advised them he was opposed to the contract on principle because put or pay is contrary to sound environmental policy. And how could he have cancelled the contract? Is there a power that provides for that?

    So 3 years later Gormley is waiting for another report providing a nice earner, to estimate what it would cost to cancel the contract. Meanwhile, there is a risk of big EU fines if directive deadlines are not met.

    Our recycling rates are improving. Landfill is decreasing. It is not clear what material effect the Covanta incinerator will have bar that it delayed investment in alternatives.

    Also, the nicest “little earner” out of all this has been for the legal fees of the solicitors and barristers for Panda and Greenstar and their expert witnesses as well as the legal fees of Dublin City Council’s barristers and outside experts (including economic experts) ALL OF WHICH will likely have to be paid by the denizens of Dublin including all the businesses on their knee who are being crucified with rates.

    How many jobs will “out or pay” potentially destroy if it has to be subsidised through business rates and “water” charges?

  18. I remain unconvinced that a large incinerator in the heart of an urban area will not cause health problems. I think the argument that a large incinerator will relieve the pressure to cut waste is also very plausable.

    Frankly, it is preposterous to frame this debate around the creation of 600 jobs. In my opinion the objective here should be an honest debate about dealing with waste in a safe and sustainable manner, not whether a few hundred jobs are created. The argument that ‘we have 450,000 unemployed and the minister is blocking 600 jobs’ is the 80s mentality: jobs at any cost.

    Or looking back further, in the 50s the Erne Hydro scheme at Ballyshannon was put forward as a no-brainer: hundreds of jobs building the facility, and hydro was to feature big the future of power. The scheme was built, ruining a pictureque estuary, destroying one of our best salmon rivers, and blocking one end of what would now be a waterway all the way from Ballyshannon to Limerick (after the Erne and Shannon were linked). Currently Erne hydro provides a fraction of a percent of our power and is run by a couple of on-site engineers.

    The lesson is not to rush into what seem like easy panaceas. If the debate about the role and safety of incineration isn’t closed – and clearly it isn’t – then let the plant wait. There are too many unanswered questions. (some of which were raised above).

    And to be honest the argument about Ireland and the business friendly culture is laughable. Any time we have a valid argument about the implications of a significant investment – whatever the grounds – we always hear the big ‘don’t scare off investors’. Usually we roll over. But the argument is empty : Ireland is one of the most business friendly countries in Europe if not the world and our record at facilitating big multinationals is patently clear. And don’t tell me that all countries don’t have similar arguments about real issues that affect a locality or a region. For example the debate about wind power or drilling in America.

    If an issue is important we shouldn’t be afraid to make investors wait. We don’t want a fast answer, we want the right answer.

  19. @Michael Hennigan

    What I find most curious about the waste disposal debate in Ireland is the unerring tendency to overlook lucrative business opportunities. With a population of only 4 million, it should be possible to import waste into the state for disposal from other EU countries. Instead the country can’t decide one way or the other on its own waste disposal. If Vienna can manage to operate with an incinerator in its midst (Schumpeter lives one clearly), surely a sparsely populated Ireland can find room for half a dozen large scale incineration plants near its ports? The total obsession with vacuous ‘Smart Economy’ objectives needs to be set against these lamentable failures in incineration objectives. Obvious business opportunities, lucrative license fees, levy per ton disposed, etc. The exchequer would win all the way.

  20. @alchemist, very apt name, good to see theres still people trying to turn stuff into gold 🙂

  21. @Dublin Voter
    The supposed link between the Amsterdam incinerator and excess deaths is a story one hears in Ireland, but not in the Netherlands. There have been in-depth investigations into this, and incineration has dropped off the list of hypotheses.

    @Lynn
    I am aware of the various investment in waste disposal facilities, all of which is needed to replace landfill.

    @Tomaltach
    The incinerator has all the required environmental permits. If you really believe that the EPA did a bad job, you should sue them.

  22. @Richard Tol,
    It is not only reasonable but right that citizens should form opinions independent of any government regulatory authority. The health of democracy rests on citizens informing themselves as best they can and challenging official decisions where they have doubt.

    An investor or depositor in Irish banks in say, 2006, might have been assured “regulated by the Irish Financial Services regulator”. Woe is he who took that at face value.

  23. @Tomaltach
    Sure. You should make up your own mind. And you can rest assured that if I would have any reason to believe that the incinerator would be an environmental hazard, I would say so loudly and clearly.

    So, go check the facts.

  24. So Richard, you do not have any problem with “put or pay” contracts that put the taxpayer on the hook and provide disincentives for recycling and an open competition in the waste sector?

  25. @Garo
    If there is an issue with unfair competition, the Competition Authority should step in. Messing about with a foreshore license is an inappropriate response.

  26. After watching months of debate on this, I’m still no closer to forming an opinion on the substance of whether the Covanta project is the right way forward, or on whether it is at least sufficiently sound that it should go ahead given the investments and commitments already made.

    I would make three points, however:

    1) The standard of the debate is atrocious. There’s far too much in the way of personal attacks and reiterating talking points. There’s far too little in the way of balanced analysis.

    2) Regardless of the merits of the project, and regardless of whether it complies with Government policy, it seems to me that the events we have seen point towards a need for stronger checks on the authority of local government officials.

  27. Con I will make a third point. Ministers shouldnt use administrative means to frustrate existing policy or to make new policy on the hoof. A debate in (ha ha….) the oireachtas would be a better idea, or even a public forum. Without doubt JG is agin incineration, and may well be so for the best of reasons. However, when it also directly affects his own political future one would think that the rational thing to do is to hand it over to an independent ombudsman. But that would be in a mature political system. We are still in the sandbox if not the playpen.

  28. @Antoin
    There is no set time for a foreshore license application, so there is no legal ground for protest. They’re clearly putting on pressure, though.

  29. Mr Tol,

    I seem to have missed your answer to the following concerning the cost to society of premature deaths from particle pollution. Did I miss your answer? Thanks in advance.

    ————–

    Dublin Voter Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    What is ESRI’s expert guesstimate for the future taxpayer liabilities from premature deaths across the city of Dublin from incinerator micro-particles and nano-particles?

    At 300 premature deaths across Dublin per year, and at €8 million per death, the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator would cost Irish taxpayers €2.4 Billion per year.

    — Key points extracted text from prior comment submitted at July 1st, 2010 at 6:57 pm. This comment was eventually published after a considerable delay during which at least one other later comment was published. See actual comment for full text.

  30. Not exactly a stellar compliance record:

    “Covanta Energy was forced to pay $355,000 (€250,957) into a special fund in November as part of a settlement with the US Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This was paid after the company was found to have exceeded permitted limits for dioxin emissions at a facility in Wallingford, Connecticut. And Covanta Energy was also hit with a fine of $45,600 (€32,230) in October 2008 for excessive emissions in Pennsylvania.

    “In August of the same year, it was penalised $14,025 (€9,912) for causing air pollution in New Jersey. And another investigation by the DEP found that the company had exceeded the allowable emissions for dioxins by almost 350pc at a plant in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

    “The company was also fined $7,653 (€5,409) for failing to report other air quality violations at the Pittsfield plant between January and March of 2008. Covanta Energy admitted that it had breached emission guidelines. “

  31. @Richard
    Pre-treatment prior to landfill is an alternative to incineration. There is plenty of investment in this.

    Yesterday the dublin local authorities initiated the tendering process for the mgt of the dublin waste by alternative means. DCC will get a shock when the prices come back and they realise it is cheaper than poolbeg. Of course the price per tonne for the incinerator is a secret for some reason.

    Richard, how many jobs will the incinerator create?

  32. What exactly is this ‘pre-treatment prior to landfill’? Machine grinding and composting? Sounds like a dinner-party solution.

    And as for the terror of death by nano-particles of dioxin. Have any of the incineration objectors actually worked on a ‘recovery’ line? I would put the health and safety of employees involved in grading waste much higher on my list of concerns.

    The Irish preoccupation with the waste debate is, as Michael Hennigan averted, symptomatic of how ‘bandjaxed’ the country has become. Waste disposal could be a business goldmine for Ireland instead the cloak of leprosy is waved about recklessly.

    As for storing nuclear waste? Why not if there is a viable business in it? In vitrified form it appears quite stable and the population density is favorable compared to industrial countries.

  33. Austria’s unemployment rate was 4% in May – – the lowest of the EU27 countries.

    There is of course a fat chance of the Irish acknowledging the lamentable record of public project implementation and looking to what can be learned from well run countries like Austria.

    Small minded politicians and much of the public who want to have their cake and eat it, leave the country always racing to catch up with standards
    thankfully set by the reviled bureaucrats in Brussels, where there is claimed to be a “democratic deficit.”

    Of course, we are blind to the deficits under our noses.

    We had to be shamed by the EU and the contamination of the water supply to the city of Galway to get action on water quality.

    It’s always the same old story: respond to a problem only when there is a crisis…sorry…I should say: a dire crisis.

    Vienna has three incinerators and one of them supplies more than a quarter of a million houses and over 5,000 industrial consumers with heating.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2010/0322/1224266807354.html

    A total of 9 incinerators in Austria are only one aspect of a sophisticated waste management and recycling system.

    In 2007, Austria generated 60 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, the highest in the EU.

    There are choices to be in Ireland based on economics, emissions, safety etc.
    We are told that tough choices will have to be made to respond to the threat of climate change.

    Don’t expect the bandwagon jumpers in the Irish Green Party to be any different to other Irish political parties. It is pro-science on climate change but anti-science on GM foods – – of course because the public is scared!

    You can live in Rossport, West Mayo and expect dangerous materials such as oil and gas be delivered from afar to support a modern life and CAP cheques funded by oil terminal workers in Rotterdam and Hamburg.

    You can live in Cork, an area dependent on the chemical industry, oppose an incinerator and hope the hazardous waste will all be shipped to India.

    Is it any surprise that Bertie Ahern was such a national hero during the bubble?

  34. I am hoping that I am experiencing a nightmare and in the morning I will wake up in a well governed country. Tell me I am hallucinating and I did not see “Euro28 million for consultants”. Business as usual continues, the only thing that will stop it is both ECB and IMF turning off the tap. Unfortunately it looks like that is where we are headed. There are thousands of incineration plants around the world, going out with a low cost RFI and RFQ would have produced a better out come than E28 million on “consultants”. The question to be answered is are we dealing with drunks, clowns or fools.

  35. Do we really need incineration? No we do not! Its a matter of applying a modicum of intellect to a tractable problem. Just have less waste to get rid of. Its just that simple. The real problem seems to be that those persons who are driving the ‘waste disposal’ decisions may have ‘personal’ agenda which are contrary to the Common Good.

    Austria is not comparable to Ireland. So using it as a model is not helpful. We need to radically rethink and alter our current economic behaviour first. Any chance of this?

    B Peter

  36. @ Brian Woods

    Do you honestly think ‘just have less waste to get rid of’ is a simple proposal? Simplistic certainly, but not simple. I understand what you’re getting and I sympathise, but I don’t think it’s realistically possible to alter people’s behaviour that much.

  37. @ bw
    Interesting, but your right.
    It is highly unlikely that we could get our house in order similar to Austria.
    I wonder how much extra waste material will be going up chimney flues when waste charges increase.

  38. @the alchemist
    Pre-treatment prior to landfill is not alchamey.
    If a waste operator implements a 3 waste collection system then the residual waste (black bin waste) is considered to have undergone treatment (as it will have reduced biodegradable waste content) and can therefore be landfilled in compliance with the landfill directive.
    Alternatively (if 3 bin is not implemented) the black bin waste can be screened using a trommel screen using say a 30 – 60 mm aperture. The ‘unders’ material will contain most of the biodegradable waste (of concern to the landfill directive), this is then composted and produces a material that resembles compost but can only be used for landfill cover because it may contain contaminants. The ‘overs’ material can then be sorted mechanically (such as magnets) and by manual labour to extract the recyclables.
    Yes this is very labour intensive compared to the alternative (incineration) but the HAS are currently focusing on the waste sector as there time is freed up from dealing with construction.

  39. @ brian woods
    No we don’t need incineration but it can be a beneficial di
    sposal outlet particularly for hazardous waste.

    What we don’t need however is a contract that was signed in 2007;
    -when projected waste growth was grosly overestimated
    -when public sector labour costs were sky high
    -when DCC thought they had a monopoly on Dublin’s waste
    -when landfill gate fees were twice what they are now
    -when the epa had not yet defined the ‘pre-treatment of MSW prior to landfill’
    -when DCC’s coffers were flush with development charges

  40. @Lynn
    If a contract between two parties is problematic, one party should buy out the other party. In this case, however, both parties seem happy with the contract; as indeed are all regulators (DEHLG, EPA, An Bord Pleanala).

    The fact that you, or other private persons, are unhappy with the contract should be immaterial.

  41. @richard
    I’m not arguing there is anything illegal about the contact.
    As a citizen I am merely voicing my fears that DCC may be making a big mistake that ultimately the citizens will pay for through higher rates and taxes.

    Posting on the blog is all most certainly immaterial, but you never know maybe DCC are considering a buy out behind the scenes.
    Saying my opinion is pointless because I have no power is an unkind way to try silence me and not very democratic.

  42. @Lynn
    You are free to voice your opinions.

    In my opinion, citizen Gormley is wrong to use the powers and privileges of his ministry to oppose the policies of his own department. He should use his position as a TD and Cabinet member to change policy. If he cannot, he should do his democratic duty and implement the policies agreed by the Oireachtas — regardless of his personal opinion or his electoral fortunes.

  43. The Sunday Business Post has a piece on Covanta including the effect of “put or pay” clauses in other Covanta projects:
    http://www.thepost.ie/story/text/ojaucwsnau/

    @Richard Tol

    Firstly, it is “Minister Gormley” not “Citizen Gormley”. It is offensive not to use a Minister’s proper title.

    Secondly, the Minister dictates his Department’s policy. He does not require Oireachtas approval. The Program for Government set out the Government’s policy when the Government was formed. Your post confuses legislation and policy.

  44. @ zhou_enlai

    “It is offensive not to use a Minister’s proper title.”

    Haven’t they enough of perks without expecting a tugging of the forelock?

    What is their duty to the public and what happens when they ignore it?

  45. @MH

    It is not tugging the forelock to use a title bestowed under the Constitution of the Republic of Office. It is not like calling Tony O’Reilly ‘Sir Anthony’.

    It is a mark of respect to the Office rather than the person in the same way that one must not have contempt of Court even if one cannot but have contempt for the moron on the bench.

    It doesn’t bother me what people call Ministers. However, the language used sets the tone of the debate. Referring to “citizen Gormley” is fine if one is trying to personalise the debate, show contempt for an individual and display a lack of understanding of the role of an Irish Minister. I don’t think that is necessarily Richard Tol’s intention.

  46. eh… “Republic of Office” (whatever that might connote) should read “Republic of Ireland”…

  47. @Zhou:
    “It is not tugging the forelock to use a title bestowed under the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland.”

    As far as I can see, no such title is bestowed by Bunreacht na hEireann.

    bjg

  48. @BJG

    Look a little closer. The Constitution provides for the appointment of “Minsters” to be regulated by law. The relevant statute will give the department name to be used in the Minister’s title.

  49. @Zhou:
    You are confusing the post and the title. You said that Richard should have said “Minister Gormley”, but that is a title, not a post. The only ministerial titles provided for in Bunreacht na hEireann are Taoiseach and Tánaiste, which are also posts.

    As I understand it, Irish ministers are addressed as “Minister” but referred to as A B, Minister for C. Some persons on the wireless seem to have introduced the “Minister B” but I know of no statutory or customary authority for the usage. Perhaps these matters are arranged differently in the Celestial Kingdom.

    I see no reason why ministers should not be addressed or referred to as “Citizen”: the status of citizenhood is an honourable one (civis Romanus sum, we might say to ourselves).

    bjg

  50. @Zhou
    No offense meant and apologies if offense was taken.

    The stated policy of the Department of Environment, Heritage, and Local Government offers clear and unequivocal support for incineration; and said Department has raised no objection to the planned incinerator at PoolBeg. Note that Minister Gormley has been in office for three years and did not change the official policy of his Department.

    I therefore think it make sense to distinguish between the Minister, who has shown no sign of opposition to the PoolBeg incinerator, and the person, who has.

  51. The Minister has said that their policy is, as set out in the Program for government, to look at ways of reducing waste. He also said, qua Minister and prior to the signing of the Covanta deal, that he is opposed to put or pay contracts. Both of these run contra to the Covanta deal. It appears to me that it is not Covanta or Dublin City Council that the Minister is opposed to but rather developments and contracts which are not reflective of Government policy.

  52. @Richard Tol

    It is the Minister’s job to dictate policy. What he says goes. He signalled the change in policy and is conducting a review with a view to issuing more detailed documents. I don’t understand the confusion.

  53. @Zhou
    Policy is not changed by ministers saying things to journalists, at least not in mature democracies. Policies should focus on changing future decisions, rather than punish past decisions, at least in a country ruled by law.

  54. @Richard

    Maybe we should seek the views of some peer reviewed political scientists?
    🙂

  55. @Richard. July 5th, 2010 at 12:52 pm.
    In in a country ruled by law should a secret contract for a dangerous toxins generator fueled by adding hundreds of thousands of tonnes of oxygen to 600,000 tonnes of uncontrolled waste inputs be handed over behind closed doors to a company from New Jersey with a 20 year history of breaking labour and pollution laws, and a history of being fined for so doing? With the secret contract used to blackmail citizens.

    PS: I’m deciding whether to support Germany or Netherlands in the world cup final. Perhaps you can influence me by letting me know when ESRI expects to be able to answer the following. After all an informed citizen, including citizen Gormley, is a good citizen. Good citizens consume.

    REFERENCE:
    Dublin Voter Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    What is ESRI’s expert guesstimate for the future taxpayer liabilities from premature deaths across the city of Dublin from incinerator micro-particles and nano-particles?

    At 300 premature deaths across Dublin per year, and at €8 million per death, the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator would cost Irish taxpayers €2.4 Billion per year.

  56. @Richard Tol, ESRI. Covanta Supporter.

    You have claimed Dutch environmental scientists are world class; that’s quite likely. However you also deny, without reference links, that 1000 unexplained excess deaths in Amsterdam per year may might be due to incineration.

    You cynically spin “may” into “supposed”. That is dishonest. Its not science. Its not Dutch. Its not even the psuedo-science of economics. Its quite different. A technique from your country’s neighbours to the south and across the north sea, mischien. Or from the Galway Tent?

    Here are some thoughts from San Francisco. Like Amsterdam most people in San Francisco are not rude nor arrogant. Many are knowledgeable. I’m prepared to accept the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency made an honest mistake. Your rudeness and arrogance are not Amsterdam style, not gezillich. I look forward to professional Amsterdam-style truth from the esteemed ESRI, an ESRI funded by Irish society.

    ===========
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/07/05/international/i055356D96.DTL&tsp=1

    Dutch agency admits mistake in UN climate report

    By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer
    July 5, 2010 01:12 PM Copyright . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    (07-05) 13:12 PDT THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) —

    A leading Dutch environmental agency, taking the blame for one of the glaring errors that undermined the credibility of a seminal U.N. report on climate change, said Monday it has discovered more small mistakes and urged the panel to be more careful.

  57. @Dublin voter
    This is a blog rather than a tutorial. I provide pointers rather than references.

    The Gorecki report has estimates of the external costs of incineration (as well as other forms of waste disposal) which include the health impacts.

    Someone raised the Amsterdam issue in a previous thread, and I referred them to RIVM.

  58. @Richard Tol

    Is there a reason you have not published my comment of July 8, 2010 at 01:38? I can edit the text.

    —————-

    In Addition:

    Is it not reasonable to ask ESRI and its employees to provide easily available references for statements they make
    – especially when the reference is for an ESRI document the ESRI employee has referred to?

    First you seemed to make the appearance of answering my question by referring to the Gorecki report (paid for by incinerator promotors DCC). You now seem to be changing the goal posts about answering my question, a question which is of strong public value. Did you know the Gorecki report did not answer my question when you referred myself and blog readers to the
    Gorecki report?

    =====
    REFERENCE:
    Dublin Voter Says:
    July 1st, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    What is ESRI’s expert guesstimate for the future taxpayer liabilities from premature deaths across the city of Dublin from incinerator micro-particles and nano-particles?

    At 300 premature deaths across Dublin per year, and at €8 million per death, the proposed Poolbeg Incinerator would cost Irish taxpayers €2.4 Billion per year.

  59. @Dublin Voter
    This blog is not moderated (with a few exceptions, and you are not one of them) so the only explanation is a technical glitch.

    The Gorecki report is explicit about its assumptions on mortality. The ESRI cannot be expected to present every detail of its research in such a way that it pleases everybody all the time.

  60. @Richard

    So The Internet Ate My Homework?

    ———————

    REF:
    Dublin Voter Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    @Richard Tol

    Is there a reason you have not published my comment of July 8, 2010 at 01:38? I can edit the text.

  61. Pop the champagne Richard, long promised comes at last as Minister issues new Waste Policy

    (DCC proclaim their astonishment that wind changes direction, maybe they should read forecasts more often)

Comments are closed.