A property investor scorned

Cantillon: McKillen makes his dislikes known

Anybody considering making an enemy of Paddy McKillen might like to take a look at the August edition of Vanity Fair before they press the red button.

Within a lengthy article in the respected US magazine, the Belfast-born property investor takes aim and fires at the people he apparently most loves to hate: Derek Quinlan and David and Frederick Barclay.

Quinlan is McKillen’s former investment partner in a set of five-star London hotels including Claridge’s, while the Barclay twins are the Belfast-reared developer’s rival shareholders in the group at the moment.

As if a series of expensive court cases hadn’t already made the point, McKillen’s dislike (ahem) of the three men is now more than clear.


Among many other things, he alleges in the article that Quinlan “is only interested in red wine and parties”, while he describes his former pal’s delivery of control of the fancy London hotels to the Barclays as “a Judas moment”.

Don't hold back, Paddy. Vanity Fair, to its credit, has also managed to extract candour from Quinlan, who is said to have wept into his Hermès hankie while describing to the magazine's journalist his Dublin childhood "with virtually no money".

He tells the magazine he has no intention of returning to Ireland from his current London base and says McKillen’s description of him “says more about Paddy than me”.

Back and forth it goes, with McKillen admitting, in movie-esque terms: “This has now become personal.”

And it is this that is perhaps the most compelling aspect of Vanity Fair's window on to the very unbecoming McKillen/Quinlan/Barclay affair – business, no matter how lofty the level at which it is conducted, will always become personal when things go wrong.