Saturday 19 January 2019

Former INM chairman James Osborne leaves €15m in his will

Will: Former INM chief James Osborne, man of many interest. Photo: Tony Gavin
Will: Former INM chief James Osborne, man of many interest. Photo: Tony Gavin
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The popular solicitor and businessman James Osborne left €15m in his will, according to documents lodged with the Probate Office.

Mr Osborne, who died in Donegal in August at the age of 68, was a well-known figure in corporate Ireland who held a variety of senior boardroom positions.

A former managing partner of legal firm A& L Goodbody, he was one of the most sought-after non-executive directors in Ireland. He was a former chairman of Independent News and Media, publishers of the Sunday Independent, and was a director of Ryanair.

James Reginald Osborne was born in Devon but his roots were in the town of Milford, Donegal His father was a commander in the Royal Navy, which brought the family to Plymouth and later to postings further afield.

His family returned to Milford, where his great grandfather was a doctor and where his grandfather, John Allen Osborne, later founded the family legal practice.

Mr Osborne followed his grandfather into the legal profession, studying at Trinity College and later joining A & L Goodbody. He became managing partner and helped build the firm into one of the country's biggest practices. He worked closely with some of Ireland's most successful business people, including Dermot Desmond and Larry Goodman.

He retired from Goodbody at the age of 45 but kept an office there and continued to work as a business consultant, joining the boards of Bank of Ireland and Golden Vale.

Mr Osborne was a long-standing director of Ryanair and a close adviser to its chief executive, Michael O'Leary.

Mr O'Leary was among the succession of leading figures from the world of business, sport, entertainment and politics who paid tribute to Mr Osborne at a memorial service in the Examination Hall of Trinity College last August.

Other speakers included his three children, Patch, Lucy and Pia, and his brother, Henry, who recounted how the 16-year-old James Osborne accidentally sank a yacht while trying to impress the daughter of a British navy captain. Mr Osborne remained a keen sailor all his life. He was also a horse-racing enthusiast, serving as a chairman of Punchestown Racecourse for a number of years. He served on the boards of a number of cultural institutions, such as the Irish Heritage Trust and Fota House.

His breadth of interests was reflected at his memorial service, which was presided over by former TD Madeleine Taylor Quinn, and attendees included sports writer and broadcaster Eamon Dunphy, Alan Dukes, the former Fine Gael leader, Sean FitzPatrick, the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, the rugby player Rob Kearney and satirist and comedian Oliver Callan.

Mr Osborne, who lived in Ranelagh, in south Dublin, with his partner, Patricia, was a frequent visitor to Milford, where he died. He is survived by his wife, Heather, and their children, Lucy and Patch, and by his partner, Patricia, and their daughter, Pia, by his adored grandchild, Maya, and by his two brothers.

Probate records show that Mr Osborne left €15,286,826 in his will.

Sunday Independent

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