Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power has hit out at Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin after he walked-out of the Seanad this evening when faced with questions about a cost-benefit analysis of the planned monster sewerage plant for Clonshaugh.
A specific Seanad debate was scheduled for this evening on Minister Howlin’s previous commitment to the House to investigate the cost to the taxpayer of the sewerage plant. However despite the fact that he was present in the chamber at the time the Minister abruptly left as the debate began.
Senator Power commented: “The fact that the Minister walked out of the chamber this evening raises further questions about this sewerage plant. Brendan Howlin committed to investigating the cost of this project in November 2011. The government has already spent €18 million on the design and planning of the facility and the estimated final bill is expected to reach €1 billion. It is essential that a full cost-benefit analysis is undertaken before any more money is spent.
“When Environment Minister Phil Hogan eventually took the debate he confirmed that even though he is ‘the line minister’ he has not seen any detailed costings for the project. Up to €1 billion of taxpayer’s money is on the line here. Yet the Minister for Public Expenditure won’t even discuss it, and another Minister seems happy to sign-off on it without seeing any details on the costs.”
Please see below quote from Minister Brendan Howlin in the Seanad, Nov 2011.
“The issue of the greater Dublin drainage scheme has been raised on a number of occasions by colleagues of the Senator representing the constituencies directly affected. I am giving an undertaking now to the Senator that I will have it investigated. There is a propensity for engineers to have big schemes. They much prefer to build reservoirs than fix leaks. There is nothing sexy about fixing a hole but construction of a multi million euro dam and piping water for miles is a big event. I prefer to fix the leaks. I have given the Senator an undertaking that I will have the matter investigated.”