|Kieran, centre, supporting Jonathan Reynolds MP, 2017
The next day a group of close friends and colleagues from our neck of the woods met for a Christmas drink and we talked politics, as we tend to, and for no apparent reason than I said how much I'd enjoyed seeing him the evening before, we reflected on what a force Kieran has been in Greater Manchester and Tameside.
News of his heart attack days later shook everyone who knew him, and we hoped and prayed for the best news. Cruelly, it wasn't to be and he passed away on Christmas Day night, surrounded by his family.
The tributes have been fulsome and warm, quite rightly. The Kieran I knew was both of those things, always inclusive and often funny in fairly intensive and high powered discussions; but also consistently displaying an impressive understanding of detail and strategic vision. The first thing that struck me about him when he came to speak to the Labour Group at Stockport Council was his ambition: ambitious for the people of Greater Manchester and encouraging of his colleagues for the challenges ahead. He was also one of the signatories to the Greater Manchester devolution agreement, a historical act of courage and foresight.
I can't do justice to his impact on Tameside and to the people, that's for others who knew him much better. I can bear witness to his imprint on the strategy of New Charter, which is immeasurable and total. New Charter is so much more than a social landlord, providing services that hold the community together. We constantly look for new ways to do this, to work hard for the people who live in our homes against a backdrop of cutbacks, punitive measures and a hostile attitude to the housing sector from government. But what I learnt from our chats after meetings and from the intelligent contributions he made to our discussions, is that there is always a way to do the right thing. That's the Kieran Quinn I knew.
I had the privilege of serving on a board with one of the greats of Greater Manchester public life. I can only imagine what his family and friends are going through, but I hope they take comfort from the tributes that have been paid to him. The words I keep hearing that ring true are that he was a great friend, a devoted husband and father, and that he worked tirelessly for others. Kieran, we will miss you, but will always strive to do as you did. So here’s a resolution for the new year or any year, always strive, that is, to find a way. God bless you, Kieran Quinn, leader, servant of the people, father, husband, may you rest in peace.