Eddie Nolan, one of the best known figures in the Irish motoring industry and the early force behind the Ford Cork Week sailing regatta, died at the weekend.
In the late 1980s Mr Nolan, a keen sailing enthusiast, and his late friend Jim Collins met for a pint in Kitty Newman’s pub in Schull and decided to turn the Crosshaven sailing event into a world-class gathering.
Mr Nolan, who had been made managing director of Ford in Ireland in 1987, got the company to sponsor the event and in 1990 Ford Cork Week at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven took off.
Mr Nolan went on to lead Henry Ford and Sons Ltd until he retired in 2001 and the company continued its close association with the Crosshaven festival.
After he left the company Mr Nolan continued to play a role in business and, along with his son John, opened the Cork City Ford dealership in 2011 where he was the company chairman.
A native of Buttevant, Mr Nolan was highly regarded for the manner in which he led Ford during a period of upheaval.
He was also a keen supporter of the St Luke’s charity and had helped to organise numerous fundraising events.
Mr Nolan died suddenly at his holiday home in Schull on Saturday, a day before his 73rd birthday.
Eddie Murphy, the current chairman of Ford Ireland, said everybody who knew Mr Nolan would be deeply saddened and shocked at his death.
“He led the company from 1987 to 2001 and he had a huge influence on all of us who worked with him. He was a really practical and decent man.
“It is deeply shocking to hear the news and it is all the more shocking for his wife, Cintra, and his three sons and his daughter,” Mr Murphy said.
Mr Nolan is survived by his wife, Cintra, and their children Helen, Michael, John and Peter.
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