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Thursday 18 September 2014

Owen Keegan's most controversial moments

Published 17/07/2014 | 11:49

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Dublin City manager Owen Keegan
Dublin City manager Owen Keegan

DUBLIN City Council boss Owen Keegan has dominated headlines since it was announced that the council had rejected a licence request for two of a proposed five Garth Brooks concerts.

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However it is not the first time Mr Keegan has made the headlines.

During his tenure as Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council boss he has also caused controversy – and during his time as the city’s traffic manager he earned the nickname ‘the traffic tsar’.

We take a look at some of the headlines he’s been associated with.

 

€10m Clamping

Perhaps the most visible sign of Mr Keegan’s influence on city streets is clampers.

He introduced them in 1998 as a means to control illegal parking, which was causing severe disruption to city centre traffic.

Latest figures suggest clamping costs in the region of €10m per annum to run – and rarely returns a profit.

However it does drive motorists to paid metered parking, which returns significant profits for the city council..

 

The €200k traffic signs

In April 2001 in his capacity as city Traffic manager Own Keegan announced the replacement of the city’s traffic signs.

New colour coded traffic direction signs for road users were erected under the plan, which aimed to get rid of the confusion experienced by visitors to the city.

OWEN KEEGAN , DIRECTOR OF TRAFFIC , DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NEW ROAD SIGN SYSTEM FOR DUBLIN CITY IN THE TRAFFIC CONTROL ROOM.
PIC STEVE HUMPHREYS.
21 AUGUST 2002.
Owen Keegan at the announcement of new traffic signs
The Killiney Towers Roundabout.
The Killiney Towers Roundabout.

Criticism of the new signs said they were too complex.

The 500 new road signs were based on colour coded inner and outer orbital routes – with each junction on the inner and outer orbital routes having a unique code number.

After experiencing the new signs for himself, then Transport Minister Seamus Brennan ordered the signs removed, at a cost of €200,000.

500,000 glossy colour brochures had also been printed to explain the new signs to motorists.

 

The €430k roundabout

In his next capacity as Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council chief, the Killiney towers roundabout was given a €275,000 facelift in 2011, in what the council said was an effort to make it safer for cyclists.

However problems soon arose when the layout led cyclists to believe they had right of way over motorists – and motorists vice versa.

The council admitted that the design of the roundabout was ‘unduly ambitious’.

A further €155,000 ‘design solution’ was then ordered to fix the problem, and clear up confusion over right of way.

However locals complained that the new system forced cyclists to use the pavement to negotiate the roundabout – putting pedestrians in danger.

The two upgrades left the taxpayer with a combined bill of €430,000.

 

The €36m library

During his tenure as Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown council chief he also rubbed residents up the wrong way by pushing plans for a €36m library.

The building caused controversy as many felt it ruined the historic Victorian seafront for which the town is famous.

Despite objections the new library was granted planning permission.

The new library is set to open in October of this year.

 

The €50m Garth Brooks fiasco

He is one of the names most associated with the Garth Brooks saga, which has gripped the country for the last few weeks.

Mr Keegan presided over the decision making process which led to only three concerts being granted a licence.

He appeared in front of an Oireachtas Committee this week to explain the controversial decision.

€50m was a figure widely discussed as the potential cost to the local economy after the cancellation of the gigs.

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