UCD students stage protest after “disgusting” comments from city council chief 6 days ago

UCD students stage protest after “disgusting” comments from city council chief

Protesters called on the city council chief to resign.

Students took to the streets of Dublin on Wednesday afternoon to protest over "disgusting" comments made by Dublin City Council CEO, Owen Keegan, in regards to student accommodation.

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Mr. Keegan suggested students should simply get into the property market after they voiced their opposition to the granting of permission to convert student housing into tourist accommodation.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Dublin City Council Offices to call on the CEO to resign - as well as raise awareness for the thousands of students throughout the country affected by the accommodation crisis and demand systemic change in policy on student housing.

Students have said it is not acceptable to show such arrogance in a time of hardship.

 

“Keegan’s comments show a complete disregard for the crisis facing students and young people in the private rental market,” the union said in a statement.

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“While students face an epidemic of houselessness and skyrocketing rents, Keegan’s suggestion that UCD Students’ Union enter the ‘the market itself’ shows he is more interested in passing snide comments than alleviating the ever-worsening crisis that he has presided over.”

Mr. Keegan's comments have been heavily criticised, with Taosieach Michael Martin referring to them as "unhelpful and wrong."

"I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was facile. I just didn’t understand the point he was making," he said.

“I mean, student unions are not in the business of building apartment blocks or units. So I thought it was very dismissive of student groups and representatives.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also critcised the CEO's comments on Newstalk, saying they were so insulting, he actually thought it was from the satirical website Waterford Whispers.

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"He shouldn't have written that letter quite frankly," Mr. Varadkar said.

"I don't want to slag him off because he is a capable manager and he's done some very good things. When I saw that letter I thought it was Waterford Whispers to be honest. I really didn't think that he actually wrote that letter and signed it.

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"I thought it was kind of insulting actually and I think he should withdraw it."

Dublin City Council housing committee addressed the comments in a meeting on Wednesday morning, where several councillors suggested the CEO should immediately apologise and withdraw his remarks.