ESB chairman Lochlann Quinn accepts pay cut
THE multi-millionaire brother of Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has taken a cut to his €78,000 salary as ESB chairman after being re-appointed by the Government.
Lochlann Quinn has been in the position for the past five years and now has been given a two-year extension by the Government.
According to the ESB's most recent accounts, he was paid €78,750 in 2011 – but the Government is refusing to reveal the size of the salary cut he is taking.
Last year, Lochlann Quinn was among a number of highly paid chairmen of state boards who refused to say if they would give up their lucrative fees.
It came after Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin gave everyone on a state board – including the chairmen – the choice of waiving their annual fees.
The decision to reappoint Lochlann Quinn was made at the last cabinet meeting before Christmas but has not been publicised widely. In a break with normal practice, it was not disclosed at the post-cabinet briefing to the media.
It was announced instead in the most recent edition of the official state bulletin – 'Iris Oifigiuil' – which came out three days before Christmas Eve.
It also emerged that Ruairi Quinn absented himself from the cabinet meeting when the issue of his brother's re-appointment as ESB chairman arose.
Lochlann Quinn (72) is an accountant who made his fortune with the Louth-based electrical appliance company GlenDimplex.
He joined the company in the 1980s and sold his shares 24 years later to its founder Martin Naughten for more than €200m. The two businessmen also own the five-star Merrion Hotel opposite Government Buildings in Dublin.
It includes the Michelin-star Patrick Guilbaud's restaurant and has become the favourite hotel of the troika officials during their regular visits to Dublin.
Lochlann Quinn is highly regarded for his business skills and for being a tough taskmaster. He served as chairman of AIB bank, stepping down from the position in 2003.
He was later appointed as ESB chairman by former Green Party Communications Minister Eamon Ryan in January 2008.
Lochlann Quinn has been described as a bon viveur with a love of fine art and fine wines.
He and his wife, Brenda, own a valuable private art collection and have donated works that include Louis le Brocquy's 'A Family', valued at €2.7m, to the National Gallery.