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Thursday 22 August 2019

'His children all worked on the shop floor but they were never treated any differently'


Sheila Smith, left, and Frances O'Shea, from Sutton, at SuperValu in Sutton, formerly Superquinn. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Sheila Smith, left, and Frances O'Shea, from Sutton, at SuperValu in Sutton, formerly Superquinn. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Wine expert Robert Mooney. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Baker Gary Wickham. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Store manager Owen Doyle. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Feargal Quinn was "a genius" in making his staff and customers at Superquinn feel appreciated, former workers have remembered fondly.

The supermarket's former headquarters in Sutton was teeming with people exchanging memories and personal stories of Mr Quinn yesterday afternoon.

From packing bags to shaking hands with every member of staff at Christmas, the successful businessman remained highly regarded as a pioneer in the modern Irish retail sector.

Seafood expert Cyril O'Connor, who has been working at the supermarket chain for 33 years, said Mr Quinn went above and beyond to make his staff feel valued.

"When I got married in 1993 Feargal presented me with a beautiful set of Newbridge cutlery which I still have to this day," he said.

"He did the same thing for every newly wed and during the holidays he'd spend hours visiting all the stores to shake our hands and wish us a very merry Christmas."

SuperValu baker Gary Wickham told the Irish Independent that when Mr Quinn's five children were growing up they all worked on the shop floor, but were treated no differently than anyone else.

"His kids knew how hard their father worked to build up his business and were taught never to forget their roots," he said.

"I've been working with the supermarket since 1979 and knew Feargal as a perfect gentleman who had a great memory and wonderful sense of humour.

"Even if he didn't know your name he would ask you to look somewhere else so he could take a sneaky glance at your name tag."

Fiona Kelly (34), from Donaghmede, said she wouldn't be here if her parents had never met in Superquinn when they were just 17.

"Feargal Quinn gave my parents, Janette and John, jobs in the early 1980s at a time when it was so hard for young people to find work," she said.

"They just fell madly in love each other from the beginning and have been together ever since. Feargal was always so highly talked about in our home and they never forget the kindness he showed them.

"Sure, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't even be here."

Mr Quinn was also known for helping those in distress, which Gina Byrne remembered very well as a Superquinn worker in 1986.

The Glasnevin native said she was just 17 when she was cycling home from work when she suddenly fell from her bike.

"I banged my head and was in a very bad way, but luckily Feargal Quinn was driving past and waited with me while the ambulance came," she said. "The following day he even rang them just to check if I was in good health. He was such a decent guy and will be sadly missed."

Irish Independent

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