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Tuesday 27 June 2017

Hundreds pay tribute to pioneering developer

Owen O’Callaghan will be laid to rest after a Mass today. Photo: Tom Burke
Owen O’Callaghan will be laid to rest after a Mass today. Photo: Tom Burke
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Hundreds last night paid tribute to property developer Owen O'Callaghan (76), who died after a short illness.

The Cork businessman, who took ill over Christmas and died on Monday, ranked as one of the most influential Irish developers of the past 40 years. His firm, O'Callaghan Properties, was responsible for many major residential and shopping developments in Cork, Dublin and Limerick since the late 1970s.

Amongst the projects he helped mastermind was Liffey Valley in Dublin, Arthur's Quay in Limerick, as well as Douglas, Merchants Quay, Paul Street, North Main Street, Opera Lane and Mahon Point retail developments in Cork.

Major housing estates across Ireland were also built by O'Callaghan Properties.

He also became a central figure in the Mahon Tribunal because of his involvement in the Liffey Valley project in Dublin and disputed allegations levelled by rival developer, Tom Gilmartin.

Mr O'Callaghan was last night removed from O'Connor Brothers funeral home at Temple Hill to St Patrick's Church in Rochestown, just a short distance from his long-time Cork home.

He will be buried after 1pm Requiem Mass today.

The mourners were led last night by his wife, Shelagh, children Brian and Zelda, and grandchildren Isobel, Robbie and Harry.

Mr O'Callaghan is also survived by his brother, Jack, and sister, Gene.

The founder of construction giants O'Callaghan Properties was predeceased by his youngest daughter, Hazel.

The 22-year-old died in a freak accident in 2002 when she suffered head injuries after falling backwards from a ramp while loading a horse box.

Amongst the large attendance at Mr O'Callaghan's removal last night were officials from across the worlds of business, arts, charity, politics and construction.

They included Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, former education minister Batt O'Keeffe, Opposition health spokesman Billy Kelleher and former minister Dan Wallace, as well as members of Cork city and county councils.

Almost a dozen former Lord Mayors of Cork were present.

Business leaders attending included Cork Chamber of Commerce officials Roger Flack and Barrie O'Connell and Cork Business Association officials Lawrence Owens and Pat O'Connell.

Cork developer Michael O'Flynn was also there.

Tributes to Mr O'Callaghan were further paid by the Construction Industry Federation.

Several tributes stressed that the lifetime work of Mr O'Callaghan had helped transform the face of modern Irish cities.

Irish Independent

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