Trinity pays tribute to Dr Tony O’Reilly

Posted on: 20 May 2024

It is with great sadness that the College community has learned of the death of Dr Tony O’Reilly, who had a long-standing relationship with Trinity College Dublin.

Regarded as one of Ireland’s leading business figures, as well as a legendary international rugby union player, Dr O’Reilly held many influential senior positions during his long and distinguished career. These include leading the Independent News & Media Group from 1973-2009; being CEO and chairman of the H.J. Heinz Company; developing the internationally successful Kerrygold ‘umbrella brand’ for Irish export butter; and establishing The Ireland Funds which directed money from American donors into reconciliation projects around the border.

He was knighted in the 2001 New Year Honours for his services to Northern Ireland and in recognition of his work as co-founder of The Ireland Funds.

Dr O’Reilly served as University Chancellor from 1994 – 2011 and was a member of the Board of the Trinity Foundation. In December 1978, he was conferred with an honorary doctorate of Laws (LLD) at Trinity.

Tony O’Reilly was a generous benefactor to the University, most notably for his contribution to the O’Reilly Institute, home to the School of Computer Science & Statistics and named in honour of his parents John P and Aileen O’Reilly.

In the words of Taoiseach Simon Harris, speaking about his death, Tony O’Reilly was “a giant of sport, business and the media”.

The University wishes to extend its condolences to his family and wide circle of friends.

Media Contact:

Sally-Anne Fisher | Head of Communications.| | +353 1 896 3606