Rugby star. Businessman. Philanthropist: What is the legacy of the late Tony O’Reilly?

Fintan O’Toole and Rory Godson give their view

Listen | 33:44

Last weekend, Tony O’Reilly, one of Ireland’s leading businessmen, died at the age of 88 after a short illness. He had a hugely successful career both on the rugby pitch, as a star with Ireland and the Lions, and in the boardroom where he founded the Kerrygold butter brand, ran the Heinz food group in Pittsburgh for decades, and had a portfolio of personal interests ranging from Independent Newspapers to oil explorer Providence Resources.

He was also the co-founder of the Ireland Funds charity which has provided millions of euros in funding for projects on both sides of the border for the guts of 50 years.

His business career ultimately ended in failure after bankruptcy in 2015. So, how should we view his career, and ultimately, what will his legacy be?

To debate this, host Ciarán Hancock was joined by Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole and Rory Godson, the founder and managing director of communications advisory group Powerscourt - Rory wrote about Tony O’Reilly as a journalist and later worked for him as an advisor.


Produced by John Casey with JJ Vernon on sound.