Remembering Feargal Quinn

 

Sir, – Feargal Quinn was a man of many parts who moved easily in very different spheres of life, encouraging people as he went. His work as a senator showed the breadth of his interests but few would know of his interest in genetics. It may have begun when he met the Nobel-prizewinning geneticist James Watson and struck up an easy friendship. He and Denise played host to Jim and his wife Liz several times in Howth and they joined in sponsoring a sculpture of the DNA molecule in the Botanic Gardens, What is Life? by Charles Jencks.

The Quinn family funded genetics undergraduate students to carry out summer research projects at the great research institute at Cold Spring Harbor, New York.

The links with genetics had a practical side too: Superquinn was one of the first in the world to adopt the DNA TraceBack technology used to verify the source of meats, which was invented in Dublin by IdentiGEN, Ltd.

Indeed Feargal’s links with the company were important in establishing its reputation.

Ireland has lost one of its brightest, most innovative, most generous and most straightforward people. – Yours, etc,

DAVID McCONNELL,

Fellow Emeritus in Genetics,

Trinity College Dublin;

JOHN ATKINS,

Research Professor,

University College Cork.

Sir, – One Friday evening some years ago I was in Superquinn in Blackrock, Co Dublin. As I rounded the corner from one aisle to another, I encountered a small impromptu gathering. Feargal Quinn had just elicited from his customer, Elsie, that it was her 83rd birthday.

Having announced Elsie’s birthday, he then led us in a chorus of Happy Birthday. Elsie was delighted, and we were all uplifted by this act of kindness. – Yours, etc,

JOHN NAUGHTON,

Leopardstown,

Dublin 18.

Sir, – Your article on the late Feargal Quinn is remarkable for its silence on his well-known views regarding marriage, the family and society (“Superquinn founder always put focus on customers”, News, April 25th).

Mr Quinn was one of only a handful of politicians who had the courage to oppose publicly the redefinition of marriage in 2015 and he was also well-known for his opposition to abortion. Surely, as we remember the life and mourn the loss of one of Ireland’s finest statesmen we ought to be honest and frank in our assessment of the values he espoused and the principles he stood for.

Or are we reaching the place as a society where we are embracing, in Mr Quinn’s own words, “the kind of liberalism which dictates that it is okay for you to have your opinion so long as it is the same as mine?” – Yours, etc,

SIMEON BURKE,

Castlebar,

Co Mayo.

Sir, – Feargal Quinn was indeed a legend, a figure for Irish youth to follow.

However, there was another part of his life which should be mentioned.

Feargal served his country in the best unit in the Army Reserve, the Pearse Battalion, and was a member of the Pearse Battalion Association for 30 years.

Farewell to a good soldier. –

LOUIS O’BRIEN,

(Lieut Col

(AR) Retired,

Former President

of the Pearse Battalion

Association),

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 14.