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Hilary Quinlan

The Irish Times reports this morning that junior minister at the Department of the Environment and Waterford TD, Paudie Coffey, has hired former Waterford Fine Gael councillor and Irish Water director, Hilary Quinlan, as his personal driver – earning him €665 a week.


Fiach Kelly reports:

You tell me one party out there who doesn’t look after their own. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s politics.” [Mr Quinlan] asked why there isn’t more of a focus on the economy. “We were all nearly eating out of bins three years ago.”


In January – before Mr Quinlan lost his seat at Waterford City Council at the local elections in May – he spoke to WLRFM about his €15,000-a-year appointment at Irish Water, saying Environment Minister Phil Hogan appointed him.

The Irish Daily Mail reported at the time:

Asked about the public perception of getting the post, Mr Quinlan told WLRFM: ‘Look, live in the real world now please. I’ve said what I have to say about it. I want to speak to you about the reasons why Irish Water was set up. I’m trying to put a positive spin on the New Year.’

“Revealing that his board member salary would be in the region of ’15 grand’, the Fine Gael representative, who has been a councillor for 29 years, added that he would ‘probably’ get travel and overnight expenses too. But he insisted: ‘That’s not my motivation. It never has been my motivation.’ When pressed on his appointment, he said: ‘I was in the right place at the right time.’

Irish Water director hired as personal driver by Minister (Fiach Kelly, Irish Times)

Previously: The John Deasy Transcript

Pic: Irish Water

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71 thoughts on “Right-Hand Man

  1. Ginger_thoughts

    From a Fine Gael voter at the last general election the last few weeks have made me sick. Who do you vote for next?

      1. Martco

        straw poll at my own workplace (tier 1 corporate) says exactly this…
        and the ones nervous of that choice me included are saying they’re gonna go for Independent

        in my own opinion FG/LAB may in fact have done a service to the citizens in this instance…instead of wearing a facade of morality, professionalism, courage and even the merest hint of national pride (due probably to simply ineptitude) the old boys network have gone the honest route let the mask slip and shown us all inside the rotten rotten rotten core of government and civil service we’ve all known and our parents and grandparents have known for years and done nothing about

        the system is broken, Sir Humphrey is alive but I reckon not for much longer

        use your vote and stop the rot

      2. Louis Lefronde

        There was a famous piece on graffiti on a wall in Berlin during the 2nd World War and it read

        ‘Enjoy the war, the peace will be terrible!’

        If you think things are bad now, elect Sinn Fein and discover your worst nightmares can really come through.

        Having watched Peter Taylor’s documentary ‘Who won the war?’ last night. I looked into the eyes of Adams and McGuinness and I saw nothing but evil. And yet, there are some very stupid people who will vote for them which is depressing beyond words.

        1. Odis

          Gerry Adams has gone on record as saying that laundering red deseil, is an acceptable occupation, for a patriot, And no doubt petrol stretched with kerosene is the ouput of these enterprising individuals. Along with smuggled fags and “vodka”.

          But at least we will have a country run by professional criminals rather than petty thieves and small time con artists

        2. Spaghetti Hoop

          Given their mandate the Shinners are likely to be in government in the near future. I don’t think MacDonald will be up to it as her rhetoric is so transparent but I see a few of them rising up to the challenge and it’ll be more an interesting time than a nightmare.

      3. Clampers Outside!

        @Testicals…. just look at NI and the state of it. Sinn Fein are a joke and full of contradictions in their politics, saying one thing down south (‘no’ to water charges) and doing the opposite up north (pushing the system into set up for privatisation down the road).

        Only idiots vote SF, that’s just my opinion.

        Independent all the way!

        1. Louis Lefronde

          Voting independent will not change the system one iota. All you will do is populate the opposition back benches with the likes of Mick Wallace?

          What is missing from the equation is a centre-ground liberal party who would frighten the life out of Fine Gael, whose leadership know only too well that FG are dependent on moderate liberal voters in Dublin (and occasionally elsewhere) to have any chance of obtaining the numbers necessary to form a government.

          1. Zynks

            Your comment implies that party candidates are of better for some reason. I totally disagree. For every independent like Mick Wallace there are several party clowns that don’t get airtime.

          2. Aido

            Seconded. A government of independents would be directionless, without a firm policy, lacking the cohesion necessary to make any meaningful decisions. The party system works (in theory) by creating a mandate for change that each party member subcribes to and works toward. Can you imagine trying to get any business done with another 10 Mick Wallaces crowing away about the issues of their own constituents at the expense of the whole picture.

            What we lack in Ireland is a party that actually represents the people, and that believes in change. FF and FG are happy to maintain this cosy little lie that we’re a nation of prudish centre-wingers while playing the system to their own benefit. Labour refuse to look beyond individuals to the good of the nation and I’m surprised the Greens haven’t already gone the way of the PDs and disbanded, given how appalingly they’ve acted in the last few years. SF are not a force for good, they’re a force for parochialism and the past when Ireland needs to be global and current.

            In the absence of a political party that represents what Irish people want I suggest we hire a CEO for the country, Tim Cook might be willing to help us out (he’d be cheaper than the setup costs of Irish Water for one thing). If Borgen was a real person she’d have my vote.

        2. Ginger_thoughts

          The Independents on the prime time debate last night did not inspire confidence. If one party started actually speaking the truth for once it would help with credibility. e.g we will reopen Roscommon A & E if we win the seat, it is never going to happen. The fact that the FF guy is the bookies favourite after saying they would not make promises and are not taking a position on Roscommon A&E is depressing.

        3. Zynks

          I have been voting independents only for the last four elections and intend to continue. Political parties with their whips and cosy deals just don’t work.

    1. DoM

      I’d tentatively suggest re-assessing the Greens contributions when they were in power. They are the only party who have a realistic spatial development plan (or any at all), for a start. See the southern end of the LUAS green line, built through ripe development land so as to be ready for the houses when they land, as prime example of this.

      Of course, very few will see beyond their cosying up to FF, which is fair enough, but for my money their contributions to Government have a far better success ratio than any other party in the recent (or even not so recent) past. If the housing policies they put in place had been there 15 years earlier (eg windfall tax) we might have avoided the worst excesses of the bubble too.

      1. Kill The Poor

        Greens have cosied back up to FF in a good few councils after their recent reemergence in the locals, even environmentally concious leopards rarely change their spots !

      2. Small Wonder

        Yeah. Greens for me too. They’re not perfect, but I think they’ve taken more than their fair share of the blame for the failures of the Fianna Fail government. There were only 6 Green TDs in power at the time. Six!

      3. Spaghetti Hoop

        Strong policy-makers and Gormley made a keen, no-nonsense Minister. It was a shame the party split on entering government.

        1. Kill The Poor

          Or you could say Gormely chased legislation that affected a tiny minority of the population (stag hunting) and didnt pay attention as his FF chums drove the country into the ground ( for a second time in a generation)

          1. Nigel

            Good God, the damage was well done by then. You want to know who wasn’t paying attention? Half the bloody country who voted FF back in yet again, that’s bloody who. The Greens tried to keep their promises and stick to their remit, the worse sins of all.

          2. DoM

            But the point is that the Greens did put policies in place (most notably around planning/development law) which, if they had been in place earlier, would have either averted or dramatically reduced the harm caused by the housing bubble, which in turn would have massively reduced the impact of the global recession on the country as a whole.

          3. Nigel

            Yes! They were so blitheringly obvious, and so obviously too late to do any immediate good that people seem to pretend they don’t count, whereas to me it shows that there is at least one political grouping willing to do actual reform. In gratitude, the electorate wiped them out and voted in.. FG! And now the only viable alternatives are SF and independents. Jesus.

      4. Nigel

        ‘Of course, very few will see beyond their cosying up to FF, which is fair enough’

        Perhaps if they compared their behaviour in coalition, which included the sort of principled resignations over relatively minor improprieties the brass-necked major parties must have fallen about laughing at, with Labour’s, then maybe they’d appreciate their good-faith efforts at mitigation, for all that they were spitting in the wind.

        1. Zynks

          Interesting priorities you seem to have. As long as your water has fluoride and alternative pseudo-medicine is not supported, everything else is fair play, including incompetence and corruption?

        2. Nigel

          I know you would! Everyone would! Even if all three things aren’t true! (Well I’m pretty sure two of them aren’t, not sure about the homeopathy thing.) You’d run screaming over relatively minor fringe issues all the way back to the warm loving arms of incompetence corruption and cronyism because no matter how bitter and scathing you get about it, you do love your cage.

          1. Nigel

            So, stick with the major issues you know, rather than the minor fringe issues that maybe kinda might one day be major. This is literally why we’re stuck with FG and FF with SF coming up from behind.

        3. Small Wonder

          Neither of those issues appear in their strategic plan 2012 – 2016. I’m sure there is the odd loony in there, as there is in the other parties too.

          I’d take misguided fools over downright greedy corrupt ones any day of the week.

  2. Odis

    So €665 per week as a driver and €290 a week as a Director, thats €955 per week.
    And thats only 49.6 K per year , which is hardly above the “Average Industrial Wage”.FFS.

    Bodger, you are such a begrudger. And I don’t say the lightly!

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      “Only” €49,600 per annum? When the average industrial wage is €44,300. And the average wage is €35,785. And approximately one third of all households have a gross income of less than €30,000.

      Fupp off.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        It’s like when Ivan Yates declared bankruptcy while on an €80,000 pa pension…. and he said… I “only” have €3,000 a month to live on…. deluded, out of touch and undeserving of such a pension. He gets that for just 16 years service to the state and he got it from the age of 50.

        He shouldn’t get a penny until he reaches the state pensionable age.

      2. Odis

        I’ve always wondered what demographic of the population, they get to do these “averages”. Bank Managers, people like that.

        Its in the interests of the civil servants, who compile these figures, to distort these “averages” upwards. As civil service remuneration is based on their output. Though of course I’m sure they wouldn’t do that.

  3. The Bad Ambassador

    Isn’t the average industrial wage in the region of 36k?

    Also being a board member isn’t probably involves little more than attending a monthly meeting. So, calculated at an hourly rate that’s probably an obscenely well paying gig.

  4. Hashtag Diversity

    Disgusting. Perhaps he can fill up at the car at the petrol station owned by that other FG appointee to IMMA, sorry I mean art expert.

    Culchie cronyism at its worst. Boghopper bourgeoisie par excellence.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      Thanks for that, and from the interview in the IT “Quinlan himself said he was working temporarily for Mr Coffey and also had other business interests to attend to, but later said he is unemployed.” So he’s a bull sh*t artist….

      ….how many other boards is this guy on?

      1. Zynks

        Our recent history shows that Clampers is right, they do nothing. However, non-executive directors should play a role in key corporate decisions involving ethics, strategy and other major decisions impacting shareholders.

        Some people feel that the boards of banks, mostly populated by non-execs failed on their roles, but most of them still hold many board positions, just reshuffled around a bit between companies.

    1. dd

      Well, I suppose being most famous for dodging a charge after being arrested for allegedly beating up his niece ad paying double the market rate for houses on behalf of the council in Waterford is more damning tbf.

  5. Louis Lefronde

    Bog Politics is alive and well and now Fine Gael have demonstrated unambiguously for all to see what was obvious for so long that like Fianna Fail and The Labour Party – they are populated by Genetically Modified Cretins!

      1. Louis Lefronde

        As the saying goes, ‘you take a man from the bog but not the bog from the man’. There are plenty of ‘Bog Politicians’ representing Dublin constituencies, and no shortage of ignorami too!

  6. Starina

    woah. they’re not even trying to hide the corrupt cronyism anymore — I guess they’re trying to see how far they can push it.

  7. Custo

    Mr Quinlan added: “You tell me one party out there who doesn’t look after their own. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s politics.” He asked why there isn’t more of a focus on the economy. “We were all nearly eating out of bins three years ago.”


  8. Kolmo

    FG – the party of greasy privateers – same old shit. What is more depressing is the Youth Wing of the party…wannabe corporate ass-crawlers, who’d probably sell their own mothers

  9. Jack Ascinine

    So what kind of qualifications does it indicate that a person has when they go from managing a city for 29 years and sitting on the board of a quango, to driving a car for junior minister? Surely there are more professional chauffeurs out there than a washed up councillor? Personally, I’d be too embarrassed with myself to claim to be on the board of a major enterprise like Irish Water, and driving a car for a second class minister. But then again, these clowns know no pride when it comes to money and cronyism.

  10. El Cuno

    FG and FF are basically the same – FG used to at least pretend to be higher up the moral ground, but they have let even that fig leaf slip. A bunch of teachers lining their own pockets…it doesn’t actually matter which crowd are in because the country is run by the uncivil servants and the revenue.
    There is nobody to vote for and little point in voting at all.

  11. Mr. T.

    FF and FG are the same thing. The greatest con job ever perpetrated on the Irish public. The illusion of opposition. You’re in for 5 years, we’re in for 5 years, etc.

    One pretended to be anti-treaty, the other pretending to be pro-treaty. Long after it became entirely irrelevant.

    It was the perfect way to maintain a centre-right government in Ireland and starve any alternative of oxygen.

    Both cozied up to the Church. Both cozied up the US. Both cozied up to developers. Both took bribes. Both perpetuate political dynasties as a way to maintain and concentrate control among the same few families.

    Wake up people.

  12. Sham Bob

    This guy’s like Enda pre-media training – ‘I’m trying to put a positive spin on the New Year.’

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