Lives Remembered

Michael Downey: Entrepreneur, charity advocate and family man

MICHAEL Downey, along with his brother David and their families, have changed the landscape of business and hospitality in Newry for more than a generation.

An entrepreneur, a businessperson, a ferocious competitor, a determined charity advocate and campaigner, Michael was first and foremost a family man.

As someone remarked to me before the funeral, "He was a pure gentleman, a lovely generous man who never passed you".

Michael and David created huge employment, enterprise and vibrancy in Newry for so many, for so long.

Their businesses included SuperValu stores on Hill Street and Dublin Road and The Bank and Cobbles bar and restaurants.

One of his former long-term employees, Anthony Courtney, described Michael as "loving a bit of craic and a joke".

"He was a huge Garth Brooks fan and he’d wear holes in CDs he had them on repeat so much!”

Michael - or 'Mick', as he was affectionately known - was a great family man and a massive charity worker.

"A huge fan of the National Ploughing Championships, Michael would attend annually on a stay-away-day with his close group of friends and colleagues," Anthony said.

"Anywhere he travelled to, he’d always be coming home with a handful of menus to borrow ideas from."

He also spoke passionately about how great a man Michael was to work for.

"He was very patient with his employees, always giving them the time and space and encouragement to grow and develop - I am where I am today because of Mick Downey."

Michael died on July 29 and was laid to rest in Meigh on August 2 after his funeral Mass in St Joseph’s Church.

He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Our sincere sympathies with his beloved wife Hannah and his children Joanne, Gerard, Michael Jr, Sean and Moninna, with David and the entire Downey family circle.

Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas sioraí dó.

Justin McNulty

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