Saturday 16 December 2017

From 'Ho Chi Quinn' to first Labour Finance chief, Ruairi can look on long march with pride

Ruairi Quinn
Ruairi Quinn
John Downing

John Downing

THE Maison d'Antoine is one of Europe's most famous chippers, celebrated for its double-fried Belgian frites. My first conversation with Ruairi Quinn was in the huge queue for Brussels's most celebrated take-away at a late hour on a freezing cold night in January 1995.

As newly-appointed finance minister he was determined to deliver dinner promised to a group of journalists after an EU ministerial meeting which had dragged on well after restaurant closing time.

Thanks to indulgent staff the "health food" was consumed in a nearby bar. The rest of us had beer but Ruairi Quinn opted for a nice glass of French red as he talked quietly about his plans as Labour's first finance minister in the State's history.

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