The Competition Authority has rejected complaints that the contract between Dublin City Council and Covanta/Dong is in breach of competition law. See Examiner, Indo, Times and RTE. The last two articles give substantial space to the IWMA’s view that is not really what the Competition Authority said, but it did. The Poolbeg incinerator affects the market for waste disposal directly and the market for waste collection indirectly, but not in an illegal or unfair way. The Competition Authority ruled correctly.
RTE also reports that Minister Gormley wants a word with the Competition Authority, which is peculiar as the CA does not answer to DEHLG.
The IWMA is now pursuing a complaint with the EU that the take-or-pay contract between DCC and C/D constitutes an unfair state subsidy. The evidence is again against the IWMA. Long-term contracts are perfectly legal. The IWMA will have to show that the DCC overpaid, and deliberately so.
The press also report estimates of the cost of abandoning the Poolbeg incinerator at this stage: Hundreds of millions of euro. See Indo and Herald. That number corresponds to my own back of the envelope calculations for the total of landfill fines, money already spent on Poolbeg, contract buy-out, and the extra cost of the alternative disposal methods.
UPDATE: More in the Irish Times of today. Minister Gormley reiterates the misconceptions that the Poolbeg incinerator will only burn waste that is collected by public operators; and that the proposed landfill levy will guarantee that the landfill target will be me (Curtis et al. disagree). Minister Gormley also seems to say that Ireland would not face EU fines if it does not meet its landfill targets — which would be untrue — but perhaps he thinks that there are alternative ways to meet the target — which is unlikely: A double-dip depression and accelerated emigration might do it.