Tony O’Reilly: Ireland rugby legend and businessman dies

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By Creative Media News

  • Sir Tony O’Reilly, rugby legend and businessman, dies at 88
  • Founded Kerrygold, led Heinz, and owned Independent Newspapers
  • Established The Ireland Funds, promoting peace and reconciliation

In 1955, Sir Tony debuted internationally in rugby for Ireland. Shortly after, he was appointed the youngest player to the British Lions. Subsequently, he established Kerrygold, a dairy brand he developed into one of Ireland’s most recognizable international consumer brands.

Sir Tony O’Reilly, a prominent businessman and former Irish international rugby player, passed away at 88.

On Saturday, Sir Tony, an additional media magnate, passed away at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

The Irish Rugby Football Union announced on X: “A rugby legend has been buried.

We extend our sincerest condolences to his loved ones and acquaintances.

Michael Martin, the deputy premier of Ireland, remarked that Mr. O’Reilly “had an unprecedented effect on Irish business, sport, the media, and society.

The family of Sir Tony said in a statement: “In the coming days, Tony O’Reilly will be honored with numerous tributes that reflect on his extraordinary and one-of-a-kind accomplishments in the realms of business and sports.

He also had remarkable philanthropic foresight, most notably demonstrated through the creation of the Ireland Funds during a period of historical adversity on this island.

However, he was a cherished father and grandfather to us.

We had the privilege of spending time with him recently as he neared the end of one of his greatest lifetimes.

Sir Tony, born in Dublin in 1936, debuted for Ireland in rugby internationally in 1955. Shortly after that, he was named the youngest player to the British Lions, an amalgamation of athletes from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Throughout his business tenure, he established Kerrygold, a dairy brand that has since become one of Ireland’s most recognizable international consumer brands.

He subsequently assumed the role of chairman at the renowned food corporation Heinz and acquired Independent Newspapers, the proprietor of the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, and Evening Herald, in 1973.

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Additionally, he gained recognition for his philanthropic endeavors by establishing The Ireland Funds, an organization that invested funds contributed by American donors in reconciliation initiatives encompassing the Irish border.

Sir Tony, who held dual Irish and British citizenship, was knighted by the late Queen Elizabeth II in the 2001 New Year Honours “for long and distinguished service to Northern Ireland.”

On X, Mr. Martin expressed his sorrow over the passing of Tony O’Reilly, a trailblazing individual whose influence spanned Irish business, athletics, media, and society.

Tony revolutionized the international discourse surrounding peace and reconciliation on this island using the Ireland Funds.

I extend my sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and children.

Sir Tony was the paternal guardian of six children.

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