File photo of Dublin City Council offices at Wood Quay.

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A New Utility Company for District Heating

A new utility company should by 2025 start linking homes up to the new district heating system powered by the waste-to-energy incinerator in Poolbeg, said James Nolan, a senior executive officer with Dublin City Council, last week.

The council should be set to apply for planning permission for the heating system early next year, said Nolan at a special meeting on 17 May, called to address the issue of climate change.

The new energy company would be a joint venture between the council and a private partner, he said.

The design team has completed the detailed design work for the district heating system at the Irish Glass Bottle Site in Poolbeg, he said.

The developer of that site should start work to install infrastructure next year, said Nolan.

The council has funding, said Nolan, who is the project manager. “We will start to draw that down as we start building infrastructure on the Glass Bottle Site.”

The district heating network should reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent in areas where it is installed, he said.

This one, and another district heating system in Tallaght, fuelled there by a data centre, are national pilot projects, said Nolan.

He expects that, in the future, data centres could be harnessed for more heating schemes. “We are looking at the future opportunities with district heating.”

Most councillors welcomed the progress on the scheme and some wondered if it could be sped up. Nolan said the council is in the process of establishing a new utility company, which takes time.

“Hot water produced by the incinerator will pump heat to homes without the need for a boiler,” said Fine Gael Councillor Paddy McCartan, welcoming the plans.

He asked if all the homes in the areas, which includes the Docklands SDZ and Poolbeg West initially (with Ringsend set to be included later) will be able to access the scheme.

Most will, but not all, said Nolan. Those with electricity-based heating systems cannot link in.

“Getting heat from the incinerator is great,” said independent Councillor Sophie Nicoullaud. “But at the same time, we have to feed the beast.”

Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn said he is opposed to the scheme. Once the company runs out of rubbish to burn they will start importing it, said Flynn.

At St Canice’s Graveyard

A contractor should carry out repairs to the ruins of a medieval church at St Canice’s Graveyard in Finglas later this year, said a report to councillors on the North West Area Committee at a meeting on 17 May.

The council also plans to complete a structural survey of a high cross on the site, it says.

The council got €85,000 for conservation works from the Community Monuments Fund in April. Conservation staff are preparing a tender and they hope to appoint a contractor to do the work in November.

The council staff also plan to do an ecological survey of the graveyard and map the site, according to the report.

“This is one of the most historic sites probably in the county,” said Sinn Féin Councillor Anthony Connaghan. It deserves the investment, he said.

Social Democrats Councillor Mary Callaghan said that local volunteers do a lot of conservation work in the graveyard and it is good to see the council working with them.

Said Fianna Fáil Councillor Keith Connolly: “An awful lot of volunteer man-hours have gone into maintaining it.”

The council project team will host a workshop for local volunteers on the “best practice maintenance of historical burial places, to assist the community in safeguarding of the site”, says the report.

Laoise Neylon

Laoise Neylon is a reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at

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