President Michael D Higgins leads tributes to Superquinn founder Feargal Quinn
PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has led tributes to businessman Feargal Quinn following his death aged 82.
Mr Quinn, who was best known as the founder of the supermarket chain Superquinn, died at his home in Howth, Co Dublin following a short illness.
He also served as a member of Seanad Éireann for more than 23 years.
Mr Quinn was born in Dublin in 1936 into a family with strong roots in Newry.
His father, Eamonn Quinn, operated a successful grocery chain - Quinn's of Newry - in the 1940s.
Former Labour Party leader and cabinet minister Ruairi Quinn and businessman Lochlann Quinn were cousins.
His own business was founded in 1960 as Quinn's Supermarkets in Dundalk.
Superquinn, which pioneered the idea of in-store bakeries, was sold to a consortium of investors in 2005 for €450 million and subsequently bought out of receivership by Musgrave Group, which rebranded the shops under the Supervalu name.
Chris Martin, chief executive of Musgrave Group, said Mr Quinn was "a visionary in Irish food and a retail pioneer".
Mr Quinn was elected as a senator in 1993 from the National University of Ireland constituency and was re-elected every term until 2016.
At the beginning of his political career, he donated his Seanad salary to charity, and later refused to take any payment whatsoever.
President Higgins said he was a gifted entrepreneur "whose vision of customer service and innovation transformed the landscape of the retail trade in Ireland".
"As a lifelong supporter of small businesses and start-up companies, countless numbers of people benefited from his wise counsel, which was based on a highly successful career at the coalface of Irish business," he said.
"He will be deeply missed not just by his family and wide circle of friends, but also by those who served in the Seanad with him, where he will be remembered as a force for change, as a passionate advocate on business and related matters, and as an eloquent debater. He was renowned for his courteous contributions and responses to both supporters and opponents."
Mr Quinn is survived by his wife Denise, their five children and 19 grandchildren.
In a statement, his family described him as an ebullient businessman, entrepreneur, and innovator.