Students to hold protest following "disgusting comments" from Dublin City Council chief
The fallout from Owen Keegan's comments continues.
The UCD Students' Union (SU) is staging a protest on Wednesday in response to Dublin City Council Chief Executive Owen Keegan's recent comments over the student accommodation crisis, which the SU has described as "disgusting".
Earlier in the week, in a letter sent to the UCD SU president Ruairí Power, Keegan suggested students themselves should get into the property market.
The reply from Keegan was in response to the SU's opposition to purpose-built student accommodation being converted into short-term tourist accommodation and was widely criticised by both politicians and students.
On Wednesday at 1pm, the SU will hold a protest outside Dublin City Council's offices in Wood Quay.
It said in a statement that Keegan’s comments show a "complete disregard" for the crisis facing students and young people in the private rental market.
"While students face an epidemic of houselessness and skyrocketing rents, Keegan’s suggestion that UCD Students’ Union enter ‘the market itself’ shows he is more interested in passing snide comments than alleviating the ever-worsening crisis that he has presided over," the students' union wrote.
"The National Student Accommodation Strategy needs to be scrapped and replaced with a strategy that truly seeks to provide affordable accommodation through a three-year rent freeze, doubling capital funding to €150 million and administering an affordability criteria for all future student builds, that allows for means-tested cost-rental accommodation."
It's time to make your voice heard 📢
We've all seen Owen Keegan's disgusting comments about the student accommodation crisis - do you think it's acceptable, to show such arrogance in a time of hardship for so many students?
Now's the chance to show students are united 🙌 pic.twitter.com/XsVPvjzMmZ
— UCD Students' Union (@UCDSU) October 12, 2021
On Monday, Power shared an image of a correspondence between Keegan and the SU.
The students' union president penned: "DCC CEO Owen Keegan's innovative solution to the housing crisis is...Students' Unions becoming property developers."
A number of student accommodations were turned into accommodations for tourists during the pandemic and have yet to return to their original status, contributing to an increase in the shortage of affordable places for students to live.
After the SU wrote to Keegan about this, he responded: "Finally, if you genuinely believe that excess profits are being made in the PBSA market, I am surprised the Students Union has not entered the market itself and provided lower-cost student accommodation for its members."
People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy was amongst the most vehement of Keegan's many critics after the comments were revealed, saying: "He should resign - and if he doesn't he should be sent packing."
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