FRESH concerns have been raised over a €2.7m "leaking" water tower in north Co Dublin which is at the centre of a long-running dispute.

Controversy surrounding the Ballycoolin tower – which was completed in 2007 – emerged last summer when major structural problems were discovered and critics claimed it was leaking like a sieve.

Those claims were disputed by Fingal County Council, which is due to pay for the facility on completion, but work is ongoing in a bid to prevent water seeping through the concrete.

Fresh criticisms of the project – dubbed the "Celtic Folly" in the construction industry – have included claims the cost was dramatically increased by the importation of a "colouring agent" for the concrete, used in preference to a post-build paint job.

"I heard that the colour chosen was grey, which surprised the people who supplied the concrete," said Fine Gael councillor Kieran Dennison.

"My source told me that this would have added more than three times to the cost."

The five-million-litre structure is now under repair, which involves the fitting of a series of bands around the outside and a lining on the inside.

It remains the subject of a standoff between the council, engineers on the project and the contractor itself, Coffey Construction, which did not respond to a series of questions regarding the build.

The repaired facility was due to be handed over to public ownership by the end of 2010 but Fingal County Council confirmed that this will not now happen until at least mid-March.

It said that due to the ongoing dispute, it could not comment on a series of claims about structural issues, including the use of dye.

"I am surprised that they have agreed to still buy the tower. I want a water tower that is built for purpose and built to last," said Dennison.

"Putting these bands around the outside and a liner on the inside doesn't sound to me like a tower that is going to hold water for the next 100 years.

"We shouldn't buy it now; we should leave it there as a reminder to future generations not to repeat the mistakes of the last 15 years."