Interviewer of famous world figures Arthur Quinlan dies at 92


Arthur Quinlan, one of the country’s best-known journalists, passed away in Limerick at the weekend. He was 92.

Quinlan worked as a journalist for more than half a century and is best known for his work from Shannon Airport where he met and interviewed countless world leaders and stars as they passed through the airport.

Born in Dublin, he was raised in Quin, Co Clare, and went on to study at UCD.

He contributed his first article to The Irish Times from Limerick in 1945, the beginning of a 55-year association with the newspaper.

He also worked for RTÉ television and radio during the 1960s and 1970s.

During his career, he interviewed United States presidents Harry Truman and George HW Bush and many Soviet leaders, including Andrey Vyshinsky and Andrei Gromyko.

Quinlan was also on hand to see Cuban president Fidel Castro sampling his first Irish coffee, when he stopped off at Shannon Airport en route to Moscow in 1982.

“This is wonderful,” he reported Mr Castro as saying. “Your Irish whiskey is far better than Scotch. I will be its greatest advocate. You may put that in The Irish Times.”

‘Uncle Arthur’

He was affectionately known by many of his colleagues in Limerick as “Uncle Arthur”.

He once said: “I interviewed many royals including the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret, King Michael of Romania and his mother, Queen Maria, King Peter of Yugoslavia, King Zog of Albania, King Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana of Holland and that lovely couple, Prince Rainier and his wife, the former Grace Kelly.”

He was pre-deceased by his wife Vera, former president of Lahinch Golf Club, who died last April.

The couple, who lived at Rocklawn, North Circular Road, in Limerick, are survived by their children Tom, Ann and Joyce.

Quinlan also had a long association with the National Union of Journalists and served as chairman of the Irish South West branch. He was later made a member of honour, the highest accolade awarded by the NUJ.

Passionate advocate

Irish secretary of the NUJ Seamus Dooley said he was one of the best-known reporters in Ireland and a passionate advocate of the development of the midwest region.

“He was a kind and generous colleague, full of stories and blessed with a wonderful sense of fun,” he said.

His funeral Mass is due to take place on Thursday at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Ennis Road, Limerick, followed by burial at Castlemungret Cemetery.