Quinn was ‘best president that Ireland never had’

The late Feargal Quinn

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to Feargal Quinn as a gifted entrepreneur and lifelong supporter of small businesses following his death.

Leading tributes to the Superquinn founder, former senator, and philanthropist, President Higgins said Mr Quinn would be remembered as “a force for change, as a passionate advocate on business and related matters, and as an eloquent debater”.

Mr Quinn, 82, who died yesterday following a short illness, served as a senator for 23 years from 1993 until 2016 but donated his salary to charity.

He was known for transforming the retail trade in Ireland through many initiatives including customer loyalty cards, in store bakeries, and the now famous Superquinn sausage.

More recently, he was recognised as a television personality through this RTÉ show Retail Therapy, which offered advise to businesses across the country.

Transport Minister Shane Ross remembered Mr Quinn as the “best president that Ireland never had”.

“Despite his great wealth and incredible success, he related to everybody,” said Mr Ross. “Customers and staff loved him. He was so absolutely genuine in his beliefs.

He was never flash just generous, he was a superb listener, something very special.

Mr Quinn became the first chairman of the Independent Alliance in 2015, and the group described him as a “true gentleman who we were privileged to know and who will be greatly missed”.

Mr Quinn is survived by his wife Denise, their five children, and 19 grandchildren.

In a statement, his family said he had died peacefully.

“First and foremost, Feargal was a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather, and brother,” the family statement read.

“To everyone else who knew him, he was an ebullient businessman, entrepreneur, innovator and former senator.”

The Musgrave Group described Mr Quinn “a visionary in Irish food and a retail pioneer” who also made a “significant and lasting contribution to Irish society” beyond the world of retail.

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