Obituary: John P Reihill

Popular and respected businessman and philanthropist

Fri, Apr 19, 2013, 14:00

Born: June 28th, 1933

Died: February 23rd, 2013

John P Reihill, who has died aged 79, was the owner and chairman of the fuel distribution and retail group Tedcastle Holdings. One of the country’s most successful business people, he was in 1993 included in a list of the wealthiest individuals in Ireland and Britain.

At the turn of the century he took control of Tedcastle Holdings, the family business purchased by his father in 1952, having bought the interests of his brother Frank and nephew Shane. He thereby became the sole owner of one of Ireland’s largest private companies.

Tedcastle operates 30 company-owned fuel depots, 20 authorised distributors and over 100 retail and unmanned fuel card/credit card sites under the Top Oil brand as well as retail stores and property.

The group includes a Northern Ireland branch, Kelly Fuels, and Tedcastles Aviation Fuels based at Shannon Airport. Other assets include dockland properties in Dublin, Cork, Derry, Larne and Waterford. The family also has substantial venture capital interests.

Born in 1933, John Philip Reihill was one of four children of John Reihill and his wife Elsie (née Stafford). He was educated at Castleknock College.

After joining the family business, he began to show his entrepreneurial flair. He made a name for himself by importing Polish coal – hence the title “the man who came in for the coal”. Consumers warmly welcomed the availability of cheaper coal.

As a director of Irish Marine Oil in the 1970s he was involved in the search for offshore oil and gas. And through his wife Ann Reihill he became involved in publishing with Image Publications.

He was a former chairman of both Irish Life and Dublin Gas, as well as Coal Distributors Ltd.

“Popular and respected” is how Who’s Who in Ireland described him in 2006, adding that he was highly regarded by his peers – “no mean feat in a tough world”.

He was a member of Fianna Fáil ’s national fundraising committee in the 1980s. He was later a board member of the University of Limerick Foundation.

His wide circle of friends was drawn from the arts, business, the law, politics and media. He played golf and tennis, and enjoyed walking. He is remembered as a philanthropist, generous host, keen traveller and, in particular, a devoted family man.

Following the death of his first wife Emer Collins, he married Ann Dillon-Malone, and after many happy years together they separated. His partner Mairead Dunlevy predeceased him in 2008.

A humanist funeral service for him was held at the RDS Concert Hall.

His children Zita, John, Mark, Cristina, Raymond and Karen, step-son Patrick Dillon-Malone and step-daughter Louise Guinness survive him.

* This article was amended on April 5th, 2013 and April 19th, 2013 to correct factual errors