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'Times' ex-owner leaves €13m

Former Irish Times owner, Major T B McDowell, has left more than €13m in his will.

Thomas Blakeney McDowell who was made 'president for life' of the trust which runs the paper and was described as a 'newspaper proprietor (retired)' died on September 9, 2009. According to his will, which went to probate last week, he left estate valued at €13,262,875.

The executors of his will were his daughters Penelope Mahon, from Co Westmeath, and Karen Irwin, from Dublin. The entire estate was left in a trust fund.

Major McDowell of Whitechurch, Rathfarnham, was a colourful figure in the Irish newspaper industry. "Others might have ventured out in pinstriped suits, but few dared sport a monocle, an elegantly trimmed moustache and stiff collar shirts" said one observer years ago.

Major McDowell, who had become a major shareholder in the Irish Times, was paid a large dividend when the newspaper was converted into a trust in 1974.

He once described the then editor Douglas Gageby, in a letter to the British Ambassador in Dublin, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, as akin to a 'white nigger' in a reference to his editorial line supporting nationalists in Northern Ireland.

Sunday Independent