Anti-corruption activist Joe McCarthy writes:

I was invited last month (on Novemeber 7) to speak at the Sunday Business Post National Waste Summit conference which takes place in Croke Park today .

My topic was to be the proposed Poolbeg incinerator (above) and a complaint being investigated by the Europe Commission about the awarding of the contract to Covanta.

The organiser, the Sunday Business Post, thought it would be an interesting contribution to the debate.  I was delighted to accept and my appearance was advertised on Sunday 11th November in the newspaper and on their conference website.

A week later on the 14th I received an email from the organiser removing me from the conference because, he said, the content of my presentation was ‘sub judice’.

I disputed this claim since there is no case regarding my material which is under trial or being considered by a judge or a court.  (The organiser later agreed that my material is not in fact sub judice.)

However I was not restored to the agenda.

I  received another email two days later this time saying that it would be unfair to allow me speak because neither Dublin City Council or their consultants RPS could reply.

The organiser said the matter could not be discussed because the Attorney General and the Government had replied to the complaint and the reply is confidential.  This excuse is just a red herring even if the AG’s reply is confidential.

The organiser then offered me 10 minutes on the panel discussion at the end of the day to put my case.  However this offer was later withdrawn so I am now completely disinvited from the event.

I have no quarrel with the organisers or the SBP but they clearly came under a lot of pressure from the sponsors of the event to stop me from speaking.  It is a pity that there will not be a full and frank debate about the Poolbeg proposal.

My contribution is made from the point of view of the ordinary citizen and not from any industry perspective because I am completely independent.  This is the single biggest issue for the waste market in Ireland and it seems strange to hold a national waste conference without discussing it.

Email exchange here

UPDATE: The Sunday Business Posts responds: Mr McCarthy emailed on 20/11/12 acknowledging the invitation to speak, “but I regret that in these circumstances I cannot participate in your conference”, thus withdrawing himself from participating.

Previously: Covanta And Dublin City Council: What’s That Funny Smell?

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