Property developer, Owen O'Callaghan, dies after short battle with illness

One of Ireland's most successful property developers, Owen O'Callaghan, has died, writes Eoin English of the Irish Examiner.

Mr O'Callaghan passed away in Cork University Hospital last night following a short battle with illness.

Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill led tributes this morning, describing Mr O'Callaghan as a "visionary" who contributed so much to the life of his native city, Cork.

His Cork-based company, O'Callaghan Properties, has been one of the most successful property development companies for the last 40 years, building thousands of homes, shopping centres and retail parks.

The company built the Mahon Point Shopping Centre, the Merchant's Quay shopping centre, and the Opera Lane shopping precinct in Cork city, the Liffey Valley shopping centre in Dublin and the Golden Island development in Athlone.

The firm, which owns a large site on Albert Quay in Cork, lost out on a competitive tender for €20m of state aid to build an events centre on the former Beamish and Crawford site in Cork.

Within months of losing the bid, the company announced plans to build what will be the largest office block in Cork city on the Albert Quay site.

Mr O'Callaghan was also linked to the Mahon Tribunal which found that he made payments to lobbyist Frank Dunlop in a bid to gather the support of politicians for the rezoning of land at Quarryvale, the site on which Liffey Valley was eventually built.

Mr O'Callaghan rejected the findings and sought a judicial review of the tribunal, but lost in the High Court. He subsequently lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court - an appeal which is still pending.

He was also one of the few developers to survive the property crash, with just a small portion of his loans taken over by Nama.

He threatened two years ago to move his business base out of Cork if proposals to merge the city and county councils were adopted.

He was a staunch supporter of an extension to the city boundary.

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