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Owen Keegan, final year as head of DCC

  • 16-05-2023 12:13pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,623 ✭✭✭

    Owen Keegan's term as the CEO of DCC will come to an end this year as he is expected to step down after 10 years as the head of DCC.

    This is his second role as a city manager, as I believe as he used to do the same job for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

    He never worked in the civil service prior to 1993 and his appointment then as assistant city manager shortly there after ruffled many feathers (Probably seen as a good thing at the time the civil service was and still is a bit of a joke)

    An extremely intelligent yet arrogant man, it was clear he had a lot of disdain for elected officials. And I don't think many will disagree that as far as he saw it, it was him running the show.

    He has been no stranger to controversy: Letter to UCD Students Union, Traffic Management (Traffic TSAR), Garth Brooks fiasco, Cycle lanes, Housing, Homelessness, Poolbeg Incinerator project, White Water Rafting, Love 30, St Annes Zoning, etc list goes on and on.

    For me, the issue with the "Position" of city Manager is that they are accountable to no one, and are very difficult to remove even if they do not follow the councils wishes (Which Keegan has not done on many, many occasions), but most of all, they are not elected like a Mayor would be.

    My personal opinion is that he is unelected, highly-paid, bureaucrat. He has not served the people of DCC well. Traffic is worse then ever, Homelessness is worse than ever, He's built more cycle and bus lanes that houses , and over all the change in city layout/function has changed for the worse.

    I've had to deal with council regarding a local issue recently, and its apparent now that under Keegans watch, nearly all of the departments have outsourced all their workers. So for example Roads and/or Parks, don't actually have any workers anymore only layers of management/administration. Everyone else has been outsourced (even the road sweeping machines), every piece of work now needs to be put out to tender and contracted. DCC has been run like a Business/Product the last 15 years or so as opposed to a Council. It's a mess.

    I suppose if you're an avid cyclist, then he has certainly done a lot for you. I won't be sad to see him go however. (Mind you the next person will probably be worse)


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Whatever about the man, I will say that the role is a good one in that its not beholden to the whims of councilors as some of those folks are downright morons

    That being said, the attacks on OK over the years were as expected i.e. bike lanes drew the ire of the right wing motorist loud mouths etc

    He's built more cycle and bus lanes that houses , and over all the change in city layout/function has changed for the worse.

    I guess thats a matter of perspective. If you are a bus or bike user you'd be more inclined to say not enough has been done and the inefficient car is still given too much space and priority

  • Registered Users Posts: 680 ✭✭✭POBox19

    Can't wait. Let's schedule a 'Gone Away party'.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,289 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    Whatever about the man, I will say that the role is a good one in that its not beholden to the whims of councillors as some of those folks are downright morons

    I'm conflicted on this as I want to agree but the lack of democratic accountability is an issue. I would much rather a similar role filled by a directly elected mayor, but the wonderful councillors of Fingal put paid to that.

    Dublin still has a pretty poor level of cycle infrastructure. The obsession with it as the root of all problems is madness. However, its also keeping in line with the general plan of the council so its not a solo run by OK.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Again the same issue with giving a directly elected mayor the power runs into the same problem of morons as evidenced by Boris Johnson's election as London mayor

    An unelected role is more free to make unpopular decisions

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,623 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    Dublin still has a pretty poor level of cycle infrastructure. The obsession with it as the root of all problems is madness.

    I don't think its the root cause but it is certainly a symptom and even a non-core contributor.

    The issue is Infra as a whole in DCC is poor. Now, rail infra projects are outside the remit of DCC but perhaps they shouldn't be? The fall out from this is the wrong residential buildings built in the wrong place with no meaningful transport links between then.

    I'd also agree with you that democratic accountability is an issue, but that being said, I don't mind that so long as the work that needs to be done gets done in a timely manner and the layers of admin and bureaucracy are eliminated. But the thing is we don't actually have that (so we've neither)

    I also get that some councilors are tick as bricks. But they can be, as people aren't voting the way they should as the councilors power has been eroded effectively, it's now just a stepping stone to becoming a TD (Imo)

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,289 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    Such is the risk of democracy. At the very least an elected executive position on a citywide basis would face less of the "nimby" issues than a councillor running in a small ward.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,269 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    i'm curious as to the 'bike lanes instead of houses' angle - bike lanes are a tactical issue, housing is strategic and the steer should come from central government on that, would be my naive assumption?

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,059 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    Lots of people go nuts because more bike lanes have been built under his tenure but there are people out there like myself who really appreciate this.

    The active transport policies aren't going to go away when our hero is gone, expect more and more bike lanes and car restrictions in the coming years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,623 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    In years past, if you wanted a council home, you went to the council. Now you go to a housing agency (outsourced effectively)

    The council have been selling off their property and seriously knocked down prices to their long term tenants (which is great!) but they have not been replenishing their own stock of council housing. Again relying on outsourced agencies that are also not elected.

    Menawhile, resources are being directed and narrowing roads for cycle lanes (most of them aren't even good cycles lanes).

    I kinda get what he was trying to do but I think he's done a very poor job of it, his arrogance has not helped him either.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,954 CMod ✭✭✭✭Ten of Swords

    An unelected position has its benefits,

    1) The candidate is qualified for the job and has the necessary specialties in their respective field, not some gombeen who won a popularity contest.

    2) They're much more resistant to lobbyists and short termism freeing them up to make long term and potentially unpopular, but necessary, decisions.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,623 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    I accept your arguments. However, OK was an economist not an Infra manager or Logistics type person, that would have been more suited to the role.

    I don't think the long term decisions made by him were very good either. I'm of the opinion that he thinks we're all idiots, and he knows what's good for us/what we need. But things haven't exactly worked out the way he planned and life in Dublin has become increasingly "Less Easy" than it was years ago.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,289 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl

    You can make the exact same arguments for running a country, but there are reasons we don't do it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,623 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,703 ✭✭✭Celticfire

    You're Right Wing if you...*check notes* ... drive a car. GTFO

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,887 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    On yer bike Owen, as they say.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,669 ✭✭✭Tenzor07

    No one would have noticed that the role of Dublin city manager was having a change of CEO apart from the fact that it's been highlighted here..

    A CEO has a job to do, he's done as good a job as any in what I imagine is a very difficult role trying to keep everyone from the citizens to the vested interests from the private car park owners to the property developers, residents associations and the likes of Mannix Flynn which they probably don't pay Keegan enough for..

    Politicising an appointed CEO and trying to denigrate him for following an active/environmentally driven directive just seems childish and petty..

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,820 ✭✭✭growleaves

    Keegan's extremely provocative behaviour is what made him 'politicised'. He deliberately chose to wind people up every chance he could get.

    Putting up new infrastructure without warning while people were in lockdown.

    Announcing changes that affect motorists as a fait accompli at a cycling symposium.

    Winding up student unions groups over legitimate accommodation concerns.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    Cycling infrastructure in Dublin is piss poor. There is a far more extensive network of roads for vehicles, than safe, dedicated cycle lanes in Dublin. Cyclists really don't want to share roads with drivers, particularly as a lick of paint offers zero protection whatsoever.

    Yet people (who presumably don't cycle) whinge about cycle lanes. Spend a day cycling around Dublin and report back, I bet you won't be commenting on the fantastic cycle lanes built by Owen Keegan after your journey.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,817 ✭✭✭Northernlily

    The amount of dereliction in Dublin is off the charts. Buildings with good structure left to go to ruin.

    Wasn't Keegan against making progress in this area?

    A much more important issue than cycle lanes I can tell ya.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    I'm not sure how best it would be done in terms of budget and more staff, but I'd like yo see a dedicated council or sub council for actual Dublin city (inside the canals). London, New York, Sydney all have a dedicated city council for the actual city. The boundary of Dublin City Council sprawls out for miles, far away from D1 and D2.