Son of prominent west Belfast businessman and former Curley's owner Hugh Kennedy dies suddenly

Hugh Kennedy junior died suddenly at his home on Thursday
John Monaghan

THE son of west Belfast businessman and Curley's founder Hugh Kennedy has been described as "a gentleman" following his sudden death at the age of 48.

Hugh Kennedy junior, who worked for the family business, died at his home on Upper Malone Road in south Belfast on Thursday.

The father-of-five is the third member of the immediate family to die in recent years following the death of his brother John in 2007 and mother Deirdre in 2009.

His father Hugh, known as 'Curley', started off with a small fruit and vegetable shop on Glen Road in west Belfast, before opening the Curley's supermarket on the site of what is now the Kennedy Centre on Falls Road in 1981.

The store was credited with keeping hundreds of people in employment throughout some of the bleakest days of The Troubles.

It was built it into a multi-million-pound business, with another supermarket in Dungannon and an annual turnover of more than £50 million, before both outlets were sold to Sainsbury's in 2008.

In May Hugh snr was awarded a lifetime achievement accolade at the Belfast Business Awards for his work.

Hugh jnr worked as a director in HJS Developments, the family-run company which owns the Kennedy Centre in Belfast and the Oaks Centre in Dungannon.

In a Facebook post Lámh Dhearg GAA club in Hannahstown paid tribute to Mr Kennedy, describing him as an "esteemed member" whose children and father are also connected to the club.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy family at this sad time and may Hugh rest in peace," it said.

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood offered his sympathies on behalf of the party offering "deepest sympathies to the Kennedy family on the death of Hugh junior".

Tributes poured in on social media, describing Mr Kennedy as "such a gentleman" while others said they were "devastated".

Mr Kennedy is survived by his father, brother Stephen, his wife Louise and his five children, Jordan, Rebecca, Sara, Hannah and Aaron.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated at St Joseph's Church in Hannahstown at 3pm on Sunday, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

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