Connect with us


Dunnes Boss Ben Dunne Dies Suddenly On Luxury Dubai Holiday



Tributes were last night paid to controversial former Dunnes Stores boss Ben Dunne, after he died from a heart attack aged 74.

It was confirmed that Mr Dunne – who operated a successful chain of fitness centres – had died yesterday morning while on holiday in Dubai. It is understood he had been staying at a five-star hotel in the Emirates.

Writing on social media, his devastated son Robert, said: ‘I’m going to miss him in a way I can’t even describe in words. My dad is dead. He had a massive heart attack and just didn’t make it. Simple as that. Overall, in the final analysis, he was a good and decent man,’ he added.

Ben Dunne Pic: Rolling News

RTÉ star Joe Duffy last night told the Irish Mail on Sunday: ‘Ben Dunne was a larger than life figure who I had the pleasure of interviewing on many occasions. ‘He was straight talking, wise, good humoured and self-deprecating. Our family would not have been dressed without Dunnes Stores.

‘His gyms were a great idea, before their time. He leaves an incredible legacy, living on hopefully in his very talented family,’ he said.

Ben Dunne with his son Mark. Pic: Rolling News

Mr Dunne is survived by his wife Mary, his daughter Caroline and three sons Robert, Nicholas and Mark. His sister Margaret is the sole survivor of one of Ireland’s most successful family business dynasties.

A friend said last night: ‘Sadly its true… Ben died in Dubai this morning. I just can’t believe he’s gone. He was larger than life and he was a great sportsman in his younger days. He was a great golfer and hunter.’

Ben Dunne. Pic: Rolling News
Ben Dunne. Photo:

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs last night said it was ‘aware of the death of an Irish citizen in Dubai’ but would not make any further comment.

Mr Dunne was pre-deceased by his brother Frank, who died last year, and his two sisters Elizabeth and Therese. Elizabeth died of a heart attack in 1993, tragically followed by Therese two years later.

Ben Dunne Pic: Rolling News

Fr Brian D’Arcy knew the former supermarket tycoon from the time they worked together in the late 1980s to raise funds to restore a church at Mount Argus monastery in Dublin, where the Fermanagh-born priest was based at the time.

Fr D’Arcy said: ‘Always at this time of year, in November and December, Ben would organise a Christmas show for people living in places like Walkinstown and Tallaght. He would get [singer] Sonny Knowles and [comedian] Brendan Grace, who was a good friend of his, to perform and there would be other musicians too. I would often compere the show. They are all together now.

ben dunne
Ben Dunne Pic: Rolling News

‘Everyone who went to the show would be given a Christmas parcel with a bag full of goods, and then there would be a draw and someone would go home with a very substantial sum of money.

‘He was always very good to people in certain areas. It was a real good charity show that he would put on. He was a straightforward man who was generous to the right people and there was never any publicity about it.’

Ben Dunne. Photo:
Ben Dunne. Photo:

Fr D’Arcy added: ‘He would always be very business-like in his approach to it. He wasn’t the kind of man who gave charity for the sake of charity, but if he thought it was worth doing he would support it very sincerely and very generously.

‘He would call in others to help in a project that he thought was good. He got involved in a good many projects to help people in need and older people. He was very charitable in quiet way to a great many people. He really did appreciate the customers who supported him and he gave something back especially in the Dublin area.’

ben dunne
Ben Dunne Pic: Rolling News

In 1992, at the peak of his prominence and his retail career, Dunne was arrested for possessing cocaine and soliciting while on a golf holiday in Florida, after he threatened to jump from the balcony of an Orlando hotel room, where he was with an escort.

After the Florida affair, his sister Margaret commissioned a firm to trace payments he had made from business accounts, including payments to politicians. However, Mr Dunne subsequently reconciled with Margaret.

Ben Dunne in 2005. Pic:
Ben Dunne in 2005. Pic:

A close friend of the family told the MoS: ‘There was an awful falling out between him and some of his siblings, particularly Margaret.

‘But after a legal case was settled in October 1994 there was a reconciliation. Margaret really loved Ben and then they had that falling out. But they reconciled and the good thing is now no one is going to their grave full of regrets.’

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *