Casual chat earns auctioneer €105,000 jobs finder’s fee

Kells move by fibre manufacturer biggest ConnectIreland project to date

Hugh Morris, an auctioneer from Co Meath, who received a €105,000 reward as a result of his part in bringing about the announcement of the creation of 70 new jobs in Kells. Photograph: Dave Meehan.

Hugh Morris, an auctioneer from Co Meath, who received a €105,000 reward as a result of his part in bringing about the announcement of the creation of 70 new jobs in Kells. Photograph: Dave Meehan.

Tue, May 28, 2013, 01:08

It was a casual conversation that sparked a series of events that should ulitimatley lead to a €105,000 payday for Kells auctioneer, Hugh Morris.

Morris stands to earn the money for playing an instrumental role in bringing basalt fibre manufaturer, Mafic, to the Republic.

The money, €1,500 for every job created by the Luxembourg-based company, is his fee for making the first contact with it and alerting it to the fact that his home town could be an ideal base for its manufacturing operations.

So far, he is the biggest beneficiary of the ConnectIreland, a State-funded scheme that pays individuals a “finder’s fee” for bringing in foreign investment that would not have otherwise considered setting up shop here.

Morris, a native of the Co Meath town, registered with ConnectIreland last year when the organisation was first launched. He thought no more of it until he heard from an acquaintance that Mafic was seeking somewhere to establish a new manufacturing base.

He got in touch with one of the company’s directors, Brian Dougan, and introduced Mafic to ConnectIreland, which took over the job of facilitating the company’s move here. “Anyone can do it,” Mr Morris said yesterday.

The auctioneer’s involvement didn’t end there. He kept in touch with both ConnectIreland and Mafic as the pair went through the process.

The State pays ConnectIreland, run by businessman Terry Clune, a fee of €4,000 per job for each it attracts. The posts must be in place for at least a year.

That fee is shared with the individuals who register and succeed in establishing contact with an investor that actually decides to establish a base here and employ people.

Mr Clune said that the individuals can “give the cash to their families, use it to pay for their children’s education, give it charity”. In short, do anything that they like.

Morris agreed that the money would be very welcome in these straitened times. “It will pay a few bills,” he said.