Cork businessman Frank Boland dies

High-profile Cork entrepreneur held key directorships including roles on State boards

High-profile businessman Frank Boland died on Monday at his home in Kinsale, Co Cork, it has been confirmed.

Mr Boland had a long and successful career dating back to the 1960s that included key roles on State boards.

He began in business on Mallow Road on the northside of his native Cork, from where he turned a commercial vehicle distribution enterprise into the country’s first truck and van rental company.

Later in his career, Mr Boland increasingly focused on property and was director of Howard Holdings, which had operations in Cork, Dublin and London.


Among the projects that Howard backed was City Quarter, the €60 million redevelopment of a site on Lapps Quay in Cork city centre that included much-needed offices and other services.

Mr Boland ended his tenure as a director of Howard in 2006. Several years later the company was caught in the fallout from the financial crisis.

He also served as a director and chairman of the British and Irish Steam Packet Company, which was subsequently renamed the B&I Line.

His experience there prompted Mr Boland to invest in, and join the board of Swansea Cork Ferries; set up by a local group to ensure the southwest kept its sea link with Britain after B&I ceased the service in 1987.

Other companies on whose boards he served included brewers Beamish & Crawford, now part of Heineken Ireland, Ivernia Exploration, and broadcaster and multichannel TV service Cork Communications.

For much of his working life, Mr Boland was a member of various State boards. These included Aer Lingus, Aer Rianta, now known as DAA, where he was chairman and Cork Harbour Commissioners.

In 1995, the Government appointed him Commissioner of Irish Lights, which he subsequently chaired until 2008. During that time he oversaw the building of the commission’s new headquarters in Dún Laoghaire Co Dublin.

Alongside his service on national boards, he played a key role in organisations focused on developing his home city.

Mr Boland was a member of the Cork 800 Committee, which ran the celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the city’s charter in 1985 and chaired the Cork Enterprise Board.

In 2018, Cork Chamber, of which he was a former president, awarded him its Outstanding Contribution to Business Award.

Conor Healy, the chamber’s chief executive, on Tuesday paid tribute to Mr Boland.

“Frank’s extensive and meaningful contributions, spanning from the success of his own business ventures to his dedicated service as president and long-standing member of Cork Chamber, have shaped the business landscape and social fabric of Cork,” he said.

“His active involvement on the boards of key semistate companies further attests to the breadth of his impact, making him an admirable advocate not only for Cork but also for Ireland as a whole.”

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas