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Former media magnate Tony O’Reilly has died aged 88

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Tony O’Reilly

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds with Tony O’Reilly at the opening of the O’Reilly Hall at UCD’s Belfield Campus, November 1994

From left: Rodney Murphy, Tony O’Reilly, and Bartle Pitcher at the extraordinary general meeting of Independent Newspapers in the Shelbourne hotel, Dublin, in 1973

Anthony Joseph Francis O’Reilly (born 7 May 1936, Dublin, Ireland) pictured in his Hatch St. office. Circa January 1986. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection). (Photo by Independent News And Media/Getty Images)

Dr AJF O’Reilly makes a speech at a ceremony in the atrium, Dublin, Ireland, March 3, 2000. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection) (Photo by Tony Gavin/Independent News and Media/Getty Images)

Anthony O’Reilly has died aged 88 in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin this morning. The former businessman, international rugby player and Chief Executive of Independent News & Media (INM) was brought to hospital suffering from pneumonia earlier last week.

He had been living in a house near his former home in the 750-acre Castlemartin estate in Kildare in recent years. His family were informed of his death earlier today and his funeral will be held in Dublin next week.

O’Reilly first bought into Independent Newspapers in 1973 and built it into an international media empire with publications in South Africa, Australia, the UK and New Zealand.

He lost control of the company in 2012 when Denis O’Brien became the largest shareholder in the company.

A statement from the O’Reilly family issued Saturday evening said: “In the coming days there will be many worthy tributes made to Tony O’Reilly’s unique and extraordinary achievements in the fields of business and sport. As well as his extraordinary philanthropic vision which was best evidenced by the establishment of the Ireland Funds at a dark time in this island’s history.

“But, for us, he was a dearly-loved dad and a granddad. He lived one of the great lives and we were fortunate to spend time with him in recent weeks as that great life drew to a close.”

As news of his death broke, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said, “The Ireland Funds was among one of his great legacies. He changed the Irish American narrative on Northern Ireland. He lived a full life.”

Former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “There can be no doubt he was an impressive entrepreneur and one of the first of a generation to show Ireland could do business and succeed economically.”

The IRFU posted on its X account: “A legend of the game has passed. Our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. First capped at 18 he won 29

@irishrugby caps and was a hero of the @lionsofficial”.

Read More: Former media magnate Tony O’Reilly has died aged 88

2024-05-18 19:26:28

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