Ben Dunne, a prominent figure from Cork County, Ireland, known for his role in the Dunnes Stores’ growth, has passed away. Born on March 11, 1949, Dunne was introduced to the corporate world by his father, Ben Sr., the founder of Dunnes Stores. The news of his demise while on holiday in Dubai sent shock waves online, with many seeking information about his wife, Mary.
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Dunne’s journey in the corporate world was one of ascension, as he played a pivotal role in the expansion of the Dunnes Stores grocery chain. His tenure, however, was not without controversy. Payments made by Dunne to two high-profile politicians, former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and former Fine Gael minister Michael Lowry, led to his departure from Dunnes Stores. Despite this setback, Dunne ventured into the fitness industry, establishing a popular gym chain.
One significant event that marked Dunne’s life was his abduction in 1981 by the IRA while en route to a company store in Newry. Reports from the time suggest that a ransom of IR£1.5 million was paid, allegedly facilitated by Charles Haughey, to Patrick Gallagher, a businessman and friend of Dunne.
Dunne’s personal life was also in the spotlight. He was married to Mary, and together they had three sons – Robert, Nicholas, Mark – and a daughter named Caroline. His sister, Margaret, heads one of Ireland’s wealthiest family businesses and is the sole surviving member of the family.
Dunne’s demise has left his family in a state of grief. A close friend confirmed the news, reminiscing about Dunne’s athletic abilities and his larger-than-life personality. Besides his wife and children, Dunne is also survived by his sister Margaret. His brother Frank and two sisters, Elizabeth and Therese, predeceased him.
As a testament to Dunne’s active lifestyle, he was an avid golfer and hunter. His siblings’ deaths were also sudden. Elizabeth suffered a heart attack in 1993, and Therese passed away two years later.
The Department of Foreign Affairs stated they were aware of the death of an Irish citizen in Dubai but refrained from making any further comments.
Even though Dunne’s tenure at Dunnes Stores ended on a sour note, he managed to reconcile with his sister Margaret. The rift emerged when Margaret initiated an investigation into the business accounts Dunne used for making payments to politicians. Their relationship was restored after the legal dispute was settled in October 1994. Despite their differences, Margaret held a deep affection for her brother.