Paudie Coffey welcomes driver’s decision to resign from Irish Water

Coffey defends decision to appoint former councillor as driver on the basis of trust

Minister for State at the Department of the Environment, Paudie Coffey has welcomed the decision by his driver, former Fine Gael Cllr Hilary Quinlan, to resign from the board of Irish Water.  Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Minister for State at the Department of the Environment, Paudie Coffey has welcomed the decision by his driver, former Fine Gael Cllr Hilary Quinlan, to resign from the board of Irish Water. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

Minister for State at the Department of the Environment, Paudie Coffey has welcomed the decision by his driver, former Fine Gael Cllr Hilary Quinlan, to resign from the board of Irish Water.

Mr Coffey said didn’t believe people fully appreciated the context of Mr Quinlan’s appointment to the position.

“I have admitted and acknowledged that the perception around Hilary Quinlan being a director of Irish water which I have to say, the context of it hasn’t been explained - he was a nominee from the Association of City and County Councils,” he said.

“He was the president of the association and the executive nominated him - it was a cross party nomination and all that happened long before my appointment and I obviously had nothing to do with it - all of that hasn’t been explained anywhere in the press.”

Asked if he thought the appointment of Mr Quinlan as his personal driver might be perceived as cronyism given Mr Quinlan’s long involvement in Fine Gael, Mr Coffey defended his decision saying he needed someone he could trust.

“He was available and he fitted the role I needed as a private civilian driver- this is no different from any minister’s driver. I require somebody that I can trust with the utmost of confidence because very sensitive information of a private and of state nature is often discussed within the ministerial car.

“Hilary Quinlan is one of two drivers I appointed and I can trust him immensely .... - nobody has ever asked me about my second driver - again I’m not naming him because he is a private citizen but again he is a person I can trust with confidence and he is a person with no connection to Fine Gael.”