Friday 20 April 2018

City manager apologises over Poolbeg comments

Owen Keegan
Owen Keegan

Adam Cullen and Niall O'Connor

Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan has apologised to councillors over his controversial remarks relating to Poolbeg Incinerator.

Mr Keegan was forced into making the apology after claiming that "two unhelpful votes" against the controversial project by two local authorities were no reason for concern.

As revealed by the Irish Independent, Mr Keegan made the remarks in a letter to Covanta - the company behind the incinerator in Dublin 4.

In a letter to the president and CEO of the US-based company last year, Mr Keegan said a lack of political support for the €500m public-private partnership project should pose no threat to it going ahead.

In response to concerns raised by the then Covanta CEO Anthony Orlando following the vote, Mr Keegan said calling the special meeting "undoubtedly" gave him "greater control over the process and the release of information".

The correspondence followed in the wake of a special meeting called by Mr Keegan last September at which 50 of 52 members of the council voted against the controversial project going ahead.

The comments about the decision by councillors to vote against the project caused a political storm and led to demands for Mr Keegan's resignation by independent councillor Mannix Flynn. But in an email to councillors last night, Mr Keegan apologised for his language used in the letter.

"I understand that the robust language in the letter has caused offence to a number of Councillor," Mr Keegan said.

"It was not my intention to cause offence to Councillors. I have no hesitation in apologising for the language used and for any offence caused," he added. Mr Keegan also released the letter he sent to Covanta at the request of the Lord Mayor.

Reacting to the apology last night, councillor Flynn said:

"I think this is very courageous of the City Manager. He is clearly very apologetic for the inappropriate use of that language."

Irish Independent

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