Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan says he will not resign

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan has said he will not resign over comments he made in relation to student accommodation, admitting that they were sarcastic in tone
Dublin City Council chief Owen Keegan says he will not resign

James Cox

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan has said he will not resign over comments he made in relation to student accommodation, admitting that they were sarcastic in tone.

A number of councillors have called for Mr Keegan's resignation.

The President of UCDSU, Ruairi Power, tweeted on Monday about what he called Mr Keegan’s “innovative solution to the housing crisis”, after the students’ union raised concerns with the council about empty third-level accommodation being converted into tourist accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A student protest over the comments took place in Dublin today, with more calls for Mr Keegan to resign.

Cabinet Ministers have also condemned the comments while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he initially thought the letter was a joke from satirical website Waterford Whisperers.

In a letter addressed to councillors on Wednesday, Mr Keegan said he was addressing a serious point: “However, I accept there was also an element of sarcasm.”

Sarcasm

He also apologised for the use of sarcasm.

“I did not consider that the reliance on sarcasm was necessarily inappropriate in the context of an exchange of robust correspondence. However, on reflection, I now accept that the use of sarcasm was inappropriate on this occasion and I am happy to apologise for the offence I caused."

Mr Keegan said he does not intend to resign.

“I do not propose to resign. If Elected Members consider that my resignation is warranted, then it is their prerogative to initiate the procedure set out in local government legislation,” he said.

“On a positive note this episode has highlighted the ongoing crisis in student accommodation in Dublin, which needs to be addressed.”

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