The Tánaiste has said he initially thought the controversial letter from Dublin City Council’s Owen Keegan to students was a “Waterford Whispers” article.
Leo Varadkar has joined the Taoiseach in urging the DCC CEO to withdraw the “kind of insulting” letter.
Mr Keegan has come under fire in recent days after his response to the UCD Students Union’s concerns over student accommodation was made public.
He wrote it was “not the city council’s fault that you appear to have been unaware of how the planning system works”.
He went on to suggest that student unions should build their own accommodation if they believe excessive profits are being made.
DCC CEO Owen Keegan’s innovative solution to the housing crisis is…. Students’ Unions becoming property developers.
This is in response to @ucdsu opposition to purpose-built student accommodation being converted into short-term tourist accommodation.🙃🙃🙃 pic.twitter.com/gDRJa2eVPv
— Ruairí Power (@RuairiPower_) October 11, 2021
The comments have been criticised by several Government ministers, with Simon Harris saying they were “dismissive and sarcastic”.
The UCDSU president and some Sinn Féin councillors have called on Mr Keegan to resign over the remarks, with the SU set to hold a protest outside the offices of Dublin City Council today.
On The Pat Kenny Show, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he was taken aback by Mr Keegan’s comments.
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) October 13, 2021
He said: “He shouldn’t have written that letter, quite frankly.
“I don’t want to slag him off, as he’s a capable manager and has done some really good things. But when I saw that letter I thought it was Waterford Whispers, to be honest - I didn’t really think he actually wrote that letter and signed it.
“I think it was kind of insulting, actually, and I think he should withdraw that letter.”
Yesterday, the Taoiseach told TheJournal.ie that Mr Keegan should withdraw the comments - saying they were “unhelpful and wrong”.