Friday, 12 January 2018

Death of a 'people's champion'

Kieran Quinn - Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Tameside Council leader dies suddenly aged 57

EULOGIES have been pouring in following the sudden and tragic death last month, of Kieran Quinn, the Executive Leader of Tameside Council, at the age of 57.  Following a fall precipitated by a heart attack on Saturday, 23 December 2017, councillor Quinn died on Christmas Day in Tameside Hospital.

In glowing tributes from mainly fellow Labour cronies, the former postman and Roman Catholic, from Droylsden, was hailed as the 'ultimate politician', 'unique', 'a great man', 'a visionary', 'a people's champion', and a 'good socialist and proud trade unionist'.   In the first election for the leader of the Labour Party, council Quinn, supported Yvette Cooper MP.

'Proudly pro-business', councillor Quinn, had been the Executive Leader of the council since 2010 having succeeded former Labour leader, Roy Oldham, an Ashton-under-Lyne Freemason, from Longdendale. He had also been a councillor for Droylsden East since 1994. As well as being the Executive Leader of the council, he was also the Chairman of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and a chief advocate of devolution for Greater Manchester.  He also championed the extension of the Metrolink to Ashton but later on felt that the tram was 'chronically' underused.  He once advised potential tram users travelling from Ashton to Oldham, to take a packed lunch with them because the journey took so long and they would have to make a day of it.  As the former head of housing for Tameside Council, he also played a key role in the privatization of all council housing and the large-scale transfer of housing to New Charter Housing Trust.  He subsequently took up a paid position on the Board of that company.

Although a former trade union official of the  Communication Workers Union (CWU), and a so-called 'proud trade unionist', councillor Quinn came under fire for his close links with the construction giant, Carillion who are a partner of Tameside Council.  In May 2016, Carillion were one of a group of major construction companies (the Macfarlanes Defendants) who admitted and apologised in the High Court in London, to blacklisting union construction workers.  A multi-million pound compensation settlement was shared between 771 workers when the companies including Carillion, admitted to breach of confidence, misuse of private information, defamation, conspiracy, and breach of the Data Protection Act 1998.

In 2011, local trades unionists from Tameside Trades Union Council, wrote on two occasions to councillor Quinn about Carillion and blacklisting and held protests in the area. Despite press coverage, neither Quinn or Tameside Council, ever answered questions or responded to the concerns of the trade unionists.  Two years later, in January 2013, councillor Quinn, as chairman of the GMPF, approved the appointment of Carillion to build the One St Peter's Square project and told the press:

'Experience, reputation, and the ability to deliver were of paramount importance as we are committed to ensuring that this is a very high quality scheme and that it is completed in the projected time frame.'

Only a fortnight before his death, the people's champion, in a letter to a Dukinfield resident, Steve Fisher, told him that while he was sorry to hear about the extreme financial hardship that he was suffering caused by his Council Tax Support Scheme (CTSS) - which presumed that he received an income he did not receive, and awarded him no council tax support - this was all the fault of the Government's who'd decided to reduce expenditure for the CTSS.  Mr. Fisher - who is self-employed - denies this is the case and that his financial difficulties are entirely caused by a political decision by Tameside Council, to incorporate Universal Credit legislation into their CTSS which was entirely voluntary and unnecessary.  Perversely, when Mr Fisher applies for Housing Benefit from the same council, he receives a full award on the basis that he receives a low income.  Bailiffs acting for Tameside Council, are now threatening to seize Mr Fisher's possessions, in lieu of council tax arrears.

Unlike Steve Fisher, councillor Quinn and his wife Sue, who is also a Tameside Councillor, were unaccustomed to financial hardship as they were raking it in from their numerous political appointments as Tameside Labour councillors.  With his sudden and unexpected demise, the family are likely to see a significant reduction in the family household income. 


Steve said...

Dear Northern Voices

I really enjoyed the "tone" of the Kieran Quinn piece from the 6th! I worked for Tameside Council for some years and lived up the road in Ducky when Roy Oldham ruled with something of a rod of iron with cronyism being the main rule of the day and the council being managed like a personal fiefdom! When I moved darn sarf to Bedford I unfortunately that its the same all over with Councillors getting elected and then pushing to the surface ensuring that they are never deselected, several Labour Councillors have been propping up a Lib Dem Mayor for close on 8 years now in exchange for in one case £27,000 in allowances and expenses! (p.s. we left Bedford in 2015 on the off chance that we might get better jobs!)

Also saddened to read that Peter Good featured in a blog about the Manchester Bookfair (in a negative light) Peter was always very irritated that I enjoyed Northern Voices and doesn't speak to me now as I expressed my utter delight that I didn't attend the London Bookfair! I dare say that as he sponsored the Manchester event and I think the forthcoming Liverpool one this gives him a say in who can and can't come in! Mmmm! I've said before Brian Bamfords article as regards Bob Miller was inappropriate and offensive however I don't agree in the way the issue has been allowed to fester into violence and exclusions !

Nick Heath came to Norwich mid 2016 to rally the locals behind the banner of the Anarchist Federation A very aggressive individual who doesn't like his authority being questioned and in line with several Northern Voices comments I really do wonder exactly how many members the Anarchist Federation and the Solidarity Federation actually have and all it does is reaffirm my view that as soon as you join up, pay your subs and so on you are on a road to nowhere!



Anonymous said...

Jim Fitzpatick and Brenda Warrington are in the running. John Taylor already started asking for support on Christmas Eve when Kieran was in his hospital bed. Not that should shock you - Kieran did the same with Roy when he was undergoing chemotherapy. Apparently, JT quickly realised he didn't have the numbers, so has decided to take his political pygmies with him backing Jim Fitzpatrick in a grubby deal so he keeps his Deputy job.

Fitz is looking like he is losing support - lots of cllrs unhappy with GMSF and land sales, so has resorted to offering Andy Kinsey a cabinet position should he back him. Kinsey has just announced he is cured of his brain tumour and wants to stand again.