DCC chief to face a no confidence vote over homelessness comments

by Rachel Darcy

Following his controversial comments about homelessness last week, council chief Owen Keegan is to face a vote of no confidence at a council meeting next week.

Mr Keegan, the chief executive of Dublin City Council, remarked in a recent interview with the Sunday Business Post that homelessness is “attractive” in the capital, due to an increase in the quality of services on offer.

He said: “The best way to solve homelessness in Dublin would be to provide no beds. When you go out of your way to increase accommodation and improve the standards of that accommodation, it’s a much more attractive place to be.”

On RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke radio show, he attempted to clarify his comments, saying that they were intended as “jocular” remarks.

Now, councillors are being asked to vote on Mr Keegan’s leadership of the council at the next council-wide meeting in March.

The South-Central committee have already passed a vote of no confidence in him, with North Inner-City councillor Eilis Ryan (Worker’s Party) filing a motion of no confidence to be brought before the council.

In a statement, Cllr Ryan said that she and others in the council are calling for Mr Keegan’s resignation with the submission of the motion “[putting] those calls on a formal basis”.

Cllr Ryan said: “Keegan’s claim that Dublin’s homeless services are ‘attracting’ people into homelessness has shored up unfounded rumours that homeless families are lazy, greedy or both.

“It ignores entirely the well-proven fact that the majority of homeless families are made homeless because of the actions of private landlords – not anything else.”

People Before Profit are calling on the public to come to City Hall on March 4 to support the motion against Mr Keegan, and to protest against his comments, whilst the vote of no confidence is held within the chamber.

Dozens of members of the public have reacted with anger to Mr Keegan’s comments, also calling for him to leave his position.

In the Dail last Wednesday, An Taoiseach also disagreed with the DCC chief, with Mr Varadkar saying that he did not believe homelessness was a choice, nor were the circumstances that led to people becoming homeless.

Dublin City Council said Mr Keegan would not be commenting on the proposed vote.

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