Ben Dunne, a prominent figure from Cork County, Ireland, known for his integral role in the growth of Dunnes Stores, has passed away at the age of 74. Born on March 11, 1949, Dunne’s involvement in the corporate world began under the guidance of his father, Ben Sr., the founder of Dunnes Stores. His recent demise while on holiday in Dubai has sent shockwaves online, prompting inquiries about his wife, Mary.
Dunne’s corporate journey was marked by significant contributions to the expansion of the Dunnes Stores grocery chain. However, his tenure was not without controversy. Payments made to high-profile politicians, Charles Haughey and Michael Lowry, led to his departure from Dunnes Stores. Despite this setback, Dunne ventured into the fitness industry, establishing a popular gym chain.
A notable event in Dunne’s life was his abduction in 1981 by the IRA while en route to a company store in Newry. Ransom reports suggest IR£1.5 million paid, allegedly facilitated by Charles Haughey. 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, Caroline. His sister, Margaret, heads one of Ireland’s wealthiest family businesses.
Dunne’s demise has left his family in grief. A close friend fondly remembers Dunne’s athletic abilities and larger-than-life personality. Survived by his wife, children, and sister Margaret, he is also remembered as an avid golfer and hunter. His siblings’ sudden deaths included Elizabeth in 1993 and Therese two years later.
The Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the death of an Irish citizen in Dubai but refrained from further comments.
Despite a contentious departure from Dunnes Stores, Dunne reconciled with his sister Margaret after a legal dispute settled in October 1994. Their restored relationship reflected a deep affection despite past differences. As Ireland mourns the loss of Ben Dunne, his legacy remains intertwined with business, controversy, and enduring family ties.