Northern Ireland news

Sudden death of prominent Northern Ireland businessman Luke Hasson

Businessman, Luke Hasson was managing director of Austins of the Diamond for almost 40 years.
Seamus McKinney

One of the last owners of Derry’s Austins of the Diamond department store, Luke Hasson has died suddenly while attending a family celebration in County Louth.

Mr Hasson (80) was managing director of the store for almost 40 years until shortly before its closure in 2016. Established in 1830, Austins of the Diamond was the oldest department store in Ireland and was believed to be one of the oldest in the world.

A member of one of the North’s best known business families, Mr Hasson was also a former president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce and was instrumental in the revitalisation of Derry city centre. The plans ultimately led to the building of Derry’s two main shopping centres, Richmond and Foyleside.

He was honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the Chamber on his retirement in 2015 and also served on the boards of the Northern Ireland Fire Authority and Northern Ireland Railways.

A family spokesman said Mr Hasson was “much loved and respected” and had many interests beyond the world of business.

“He had a particular passion for rail transport and fought hard to maintain the network in the north west when the long term viability of local rail services were being questioned,” he said.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

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