Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan says sorry over Poolbeg letter remarks
Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan has apologised to councillors over his controversial remarks relating to the Poolbeg incinerator.
Mr Keegan was forced into making the apology after he claimed that “unhelpful votes” by councillors at two Dublin local authorities opposing the project were no reason for concern.
As exclusively revealed by the Herald, 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, Mr Keegan said calling a special meeting on the matter “undoubtedly” gave him “greater control over the process and the release of information”.
The correspondence followed in the wake of the meeting called by Mr Keegan last September at which 50 of 52 members of the council voted against the controversial project.
Mr Keegan’s remarks caused a political storm and led to demands for his resignation by independent councillor Mannix Flynn (inset).
But in an email to councillors last night, Mr Keegan apologised for his language used.
“I understand that the robust language in the letter has caused offence to a number of councillors,” Mr Keegan said.
“It was not my intention to cause offence ... I have no hesitation in apologising for the language used and for any offence caused,” he added.
Reacting to the apology last night, councillor Flynn said:
“I think this is very courageous of the City Manager. It hasn’t been an easy job dealing with the Poolbeg situation. He is clearly very apologetic for the inappropriate use of that language.”