Like at a funeral, when people in Ireland feel it is inappropriate to tell the truth about the person in the coffin, Dublin City Councillors were trying to be find complementing words for the now-retired former Chief Executive of Dublin City, Owen Keegan.
But many of them were probably more leaning towards the “Good Riddance” side than the “What a pity” side.
Without a shadow of a doubt Keegan left a stamp on Dublin City (and on Dun Laoghaire) and many think he caused significantly more damage than good.
He started in 1993 as an Assistant City Manager in Dublin and then became Director of Traffic. Dublin got a break from him when from 2006 until 2013 he was County Manager of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, but reportedly people in Dun Laoghaire celebrated his return to Dublin City 2013, then as Chief Executive. Another 10 years (2013-2023) in Dublin completed his THIRTY year long (questionable) contribution to our city.
Having ZERO accountability to councillors or citizens or inhabitants of Dublin City is the worst possible arrangement. The Chief Executive of the city runs the city in ALL aspects, with the grandiose titled “Lord Mayor” being just a representative figure with no control or influence over anything. It is shocking that we still do not have an elected mayor!!
And when you then get a chief executive (that is selected by the “Public Appointments Service”, which is purely looking for the right CV, not the right passion and ideas) who has his own agenda that he ruthlessly pursues for 10 years, ignoring and overruling the elected City Councillors at every possibility, then it becomes a real good news story when he finally retires.
Deputy chief executive Richard Shakespeare will be in charge now until the Public Appointments Service (not them again!!!) will have selected a new chief executive, who again will have NO democratic mandate to rule our city. At a salary of EUR 200,000 per year, we can be certain that many civil servants will be interested in the job, but despite the high salary, it is unlikely that a talented business leader will get a chance.