Owen Keegan faces vote calling for him to resign

Motion follows comments on homeless services in an ‘Sunday Business Post’ interview

Owen Keegan said ‘Dublin is a major draw for people who are homeless because there is a very wide range of service provision’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Owen Keegan said ‘Dublin is a major draw for people who are homeless because there is a very wide range of service provision’. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan will face a vote calling for his resignation following incendiary remarks he made on homelessness in the capital.

A motion seeking support among city councillors will be raised at its meeting next month.

It follows an interview Mr Keegan gave to the Sunday Business Post in which he suggested homeless people may be reluctant to leave services in Dublin because these services are of high quality and are an “attractive” option.

Significant recent investment in services, he said, had led to a reluctance by some homeless people to move on because of “higher-quality spaces”.

Mr Keegan said he was not questioning people’s motives, but said “Dublin is a major draw for people who are homeless because there is a very wide range of service provision”.

Councillors will be asked to express their views of Mr Keegan’s in a vote in his leadership.

Workers Party councillor Éilis Ryan, who filed the motion, said she and others had called for his resignation and she has “put those calls on a formal basis”.

“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,” she said in a statement.

“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.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar disagreed with Mr Keegan’s comments in the Dáil on Wednesday.

Mr Varadkar said he did not believe anyone chose to be homeless and said the two main causes of family homelessness were family breakdown or a notice to quit being issued by a landlord. Neither is a choice, he said.

“So if there are people who are making themselves homeless to skip the queue or to available of services I imagine they are very few or far between. I imagine they are exceptional cases.”

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