TRIBUTES were paid last night to Jim Mansfield following his long battle with multiple systems atrophy.
Champion golfer Christy O'Connor Jnr said that the businessman had been one of his great friends and offered his deepest sympathy to the Mansfield family.
O'Connor Jnr was just one of several well- known figures to pay his respects to the 74 year old. "I'm very, very upset," he said. "He was one of my great friends and one of the best men I've ever worked for."
The golfer knew Mr Mansfield for 25 years, during which time, O'Connor Jnr designed three golf courses for the property mogul.
"A lot of people don't know this, but money meant nothing to him. He'd fly by helicopter, but that meant nothing – it was only getting from A to B," O'Connor Jnr said. "For a guy that didn't have that much schooling, he had an amazing amount of talent and forwardness and could see things happening."
He also lamented how the downturn had affected his friend and said it was a shame that "things went the way they did in the downturn".
Mr Mansfield often credited his loyal group of life-long friends with keeping him grounded and always maintained that money wasn't high on his list of priorities in life.
Mr Mansfield is also said to have had a self-deprecating sense of humour and was once quoted in a newspaper interview as saying "I'll probably be remembered for what I am – a f****** idiot".
Former Fianna Fail minister Conor Lenihan paid tribute to Mr Mansfield – who at one point is believed to have employed 1,300 people – describing him as "a very good local employer", adding that, "behind the tough exterior, he was a very witty man".
The former manager of the Citywest complex, John Glynn, said Mr Mansfield had been a "real entrepreneur, a hard-working man, a close friend" who had worked with him to secure major events throughout the years at Citywest – including an appearance by former US President Bill Clinton and the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis.
Mr Mansfield is survived by his wife Anne and sons Tony, Jimmy and PJ. His funeral will take place at the Church of the Nativity in Saggart at 11am tomorrow morning, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.