Superquinn supermarket founder and politician Feargal Quinn has died at the age of 82 after a short illness.
In a long career, Mr Quinn was best known as the founder of the Superquinn supermarket chain and as an independent senator for 23 years.
He is survived by his wife Denise, children Eamonn, Stephen, Gilliane, Zoe and Donal, and 19 grandchildren.
Micheal Martin, the leader of Fianna Fail, led the tributes. “Very sad to learn of the death of Feargal Quinn,” he said. “His achievements in business and in the Seanad were significant and are well known, but what set him apart was his personal warmth and great integrity. We have lost a true gentleman with his passing.”
Noel Rock, Dublin TD, said: “Sad to hear about Feargal Quinn. One of the nice guys in life. Always made me smile when I met him.”
Born in Dublin in 1936, he set up Quinns Supermarkets in Dundalk in 1960 at the age of 23, changing the name to Superquinn in the early 1970s. It became one of Ireland’s biggest grocery chains, employing 5,000 people.
In a statement, the Quinn family said: “First and foremost Feargal was a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather, and brother.
“To everyone else who knew him, he was an ebullient businessman, entrepreneur, innovator and former Senator.”
Superquinn was founded by Mr Quinn in 1960. It was sold to the Musgrave Group in 2011, who rebranded the remaining stores as SuperValu in 2014.
Mr Quinn also presented the RTÉ TV series ‘Feargal Quinn’s Retail Therapy’.
Mr Quinn was elected to the Senate on the National University of Ireland panel in 1993 and served as a senator until 2016, when he decided not to run again, while other public roles included a period in the 1980s as chairman of An Post.
In recent years, he was known to television viewers as the presenter of RTÉ programme Retail Therapy, on which he offered advice to aspiring retailers.
He retained a regular column in the Irish Independent and wrote a number of books, including Crowning the Customer, Minding Your Own Business and his memoirs Quinnessential Feargal.