Denis Lynn: Tribute after death of leading NI businessman

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Image source, Finnebrogue Artisan
Image caption,
Denis Lynn founded a multi-million pound food business which employs about 1,000 people in County Down

Tribute has been paid to a leading Northern Ireland businessman who has died following a quad bike accident.

Denis Lynn, who was 63, was the founder and chairman of Finnebrogue Artisan, a large food production firm based outside Downpatrick.

His firm employs about 1,000 people across four sites in County Down and supplies several major UK supermarkets.

His death was announced in a company statement, which described him as "our founder, leader and inspiration".

Mr Lynn started his career in the food trade by "selling pizzas and pies out of a little white van," according to the firm's website.

In the 1990s, he bought the Finnebrogue Estate outside Downpatrick and began to farm beef and venison.

"Denis established Finnebrogue as the largest farmer and processor of deer in the UK, supplying Michelin star restaurants, top supermarkets and celebrity chefs," the website states.

'Extraordinary list of achievements'

Between 2015 and 2018, Mr Lynn opened three new factories and helped to grow the business's turnover to nearly £100m.

In 2018, he was named the UK's most innovative director of the year by the Institute of Directors.

Image source, Finnebrogue Artisan
Image caption,
Last year, the company began building its fourth new factory in five years

Finnebrogue now produces own-brand bacon, sausages and burgers for many UK retailers, including Marks and Spencer, Asda and Waitrose.

Last year, it announced plans to enter the plant-based food market, investing £25m in a new factory and creating 300 jobs.

"Denis was an innovator and a visionary with an infectious passion for delivering positive change for the planet and its people," the company statement said.

"He leaves behind an extraordinary list of achievements."

The married father-of-four died following the accident at his home on Sunday evening.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers attended the sudden death of a man at Crossgar Road, Killyleagh, just after 21:00 BST on Sunday.

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