News » Archived News 2006

Book launch at City Hall, Cork by Dick Roche TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government “Philip Monahan – A Man Apart”

Dr. Aodh Quinlivan

Author, Dr. Aodh Quinlivan, photographed at the Book Launch with Dick Roche TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government,
his wife Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan and his father Patrick Quinlivan.


On Friday, 23rd June 2006 in City Hall, Cork, Dick Roche, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government officially launched “Philip Monahan - A Man Apart: The Life and Times of Ireland’s First Local Authority Manager” by Aodh Quinlivan.


Monahan was appointed as Ireland’s first local authority manager in 1929 through the Cork City Management Act. This legislation is remarkable as Monahan is named within it as the Cork City Manager and it is stated that he could have the job for life. Monahan dedicated the next thirty- five years to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Cork. His greatest achievements were the initiation of the Corporation’s (now Cork City Council) new housing programme, the eradication of the slums and the creation of the differential rent system. He ruled the city with an iron fist, setting high standards of probity and integrity. In many ways he became the quintessential bureaucrat and ideal administrator. As the first local authority manager in Ireland he was the dominant figure in one of the most striking administrative experiments of our time and his legacy to local government is immense.


book launch

Former staff at the launch:Brendan O'Callaghan, Seamus Choighligh, Phil Mac Sweeeney, Nicholas Ring and Dick Haslam.


Speaking at the launch the Minister said "the legendary Philip Monahan was a man of vision, of farsightedness and of clarity of purpose. He set high standards of probity and integrity in public administration and is credited with contributing much to the ethos and practice of local government that emerged subsequently."

Remarking on Ireland’s and Cork city’s first local authority Manager, Cork City Manager, Joe Gavin, said “The modern day City Manager continues in the same tradition set by Mr. Monahan who set a high standard of public service. It is good to see the work undertaken by Mr. Monahan as City Manager recorded for future generations.”

Philip Monahan: A Man Apart is published by the Institute of Public Administration in paperback at €30.00. It is available in major bookshops or from the Sales Division of the Institute, Tel: (01) 240 3768, email:


book cover

Philip Monahan (1893 – 1983)

The life of Philip Monahan, Ireland’s first local authority manager, was interwoven with significant figures and events in Irish political and cultural history. The context of this book about his life is historical as Monahan was significantly involved in some of the major moments of Ireland’s history – the 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence, the Civil War and the Foundation of the State. The young Dubliner rubbed shoulders with major historical figures and assisted Michael Collins, Harry Boland and Cathal Brugha in the famous escape of Eamon de Valera from Lincoln Prison in February 1919. In the early 1920s, first as Mayor of Drogheda and then as Commissioner in Kerry and Cork, Monahan reflected the hardheaded, practical idealism of the time as he ruthlessly attacked abuses and inefficiencies in local administration. Ireland had been restored to her people in 1922 and they had to show, through the practical discharge of affairs, that they were capable of rising to the challenge of the period in applying common sense and restoring order.


Aodh Quinlivan– the author

Dr. Aodh Quinlivan is a lecturer in politics at the Department of Government in University College, Cork. He worked in Cork County Council for six years before joining the Department of Government on completion of his doctoral thesis in 2000. He specialises in local government and public sector management and is a member of the Study Group on Local Governance (SGLG), within the European Group of Public Administration (EGPA). In addition, he is affiliated to EUROLOC, a European network established under the auspices of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) to promote collaborative research amongst scholars and students with an interest in local government and politics.

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