Ben Dunne, an Irish supermarket heir who survived an IRA kidnapping and a scandal, dies at 74

An Irish businessman who survived a kidnapping by the IRA and triggered a scandal that shook Eire’s politics has died

ByThe Related Press

November 19, 2023, 12:16 PM

LONDON — Ben Dunne, an Irish enterprise tycoon who survived a kidnapping by the IRA and later triggered a scandal that shook the comfortable world of Eire’s politics, has died. He was 74.

Dunne’s son Robert confirmed his loss of life to the information web site Irish media reported that the elder Dunn died of a coronary heart assault Saturday throughout a visit to Dubai. Eire’s Division of Overseas Affairs mentioned it was conscious of the sudden loss of life of an Irish citizen in Dubai and was offering consular help.

The Cork-born retail baron’s identify was one of the ubiquitous in Eire because of the grocery store chain Dunnes Shops, based by his father, and the Ben Dunne Gyms health facilities.

In 1981, masked gunmen from the Irish Republican Military kidnapped Dunne as he was on his method to open a retailer in Northern Eire. He was launched per week later, reportedly after a ransom was paid.

In 1992 he was arrested in Florida after threatening to leap from a seventeenth ground lodge balcony in Orlando and charged with cocaine possession.

His sister took over the household enterprise and commissioned an accounting overview that uncovered particulars of Dunne’s funds totaling thousands and thousands of {dollars} to politicians, together with former Prime Minister Charles Haughey. The revelations prompted an enormous scandal and impressed mammoth state probes into the size of under-the-table lobbying in Irish politics.

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Eire’s present prime minister, Leo Varadkar, mentioned Dunne “actually was bigger than life.”

“He led a life much less atypical and in flip he made some errors in life,” Varadkar mentioned. “One of the best folks do. He by no means allowed that to defeat him or maintain him again. He touched the lives of tens of 1000’s who will mourn his loss.”

Dunne’s son Robert mentioned: “General, within the last evaluation, he was a great and first rate man.”

Dunne is survived by his spouse, Mary, and their 4 kids.

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