“He was an exceptional man, a man of great foresight, probably the best county manager, and perhaps the youngest county manager, we ever had,” Kevin Mills, former Irish Examiner business editor.
Mr Mills, who had many dealings with Mr Conlon over the years, said he was “a true public servant” always working for the greater good.
He spent 19 years at the helm of Cork County Council during which time Cork city’s first skyscraper, the County Hall, was built. Mr Conlon was there for the grand opening in 1968. He also played a pivotal role in creating a greenbelt in the county that still exists today, including the Lee Valley.
He left his public service job to become CEO of the Cork and Limerick Savings Bank, later to become the Trustee Savings Bank. He is credited with playing an instrumental role in forcing the Irish banking sector into the mortgage business.
In the late 80s, he became chairman of Bord Gáis Éireann. The first gas pipeline to Dublin was built in his time. In his 80s, he sat on the board of the Mercy Hospital and was a director of the National Concert Hall.
Mr Conlon, who had Alzheimer’s, died at Beaumont Residential Care. He is survived by seven children. He will be buried on Thursday.
In a tragic coincidence, Mick Dolan, former chair of the Cork County Board, passed away within hours of Mr Conlon. Mr Dolan was father-in-law to one of Mr Conlon’s daughters.