Akram Hussein: Community mourns 'world’s best shopkeeper'

Published
image copyrightSiobhán Cahill Dermody
image captionCustomers have been paying warm tributes to shop worker Akram Hussein

Books of condolence have been opened for a popular Dublin shopkeeper who fell ill and died shortly after chasing a suspected robber out of his shop.

Akram Hussein, who was in his mid-40s, was taken to hospital after Sunday's robbery, where he later died.

Mr Hussein had worked in a convenience store in Drumcondra for many years, where he was well known for his very friendly service and kindly manner.

He was hailed as the "world's best shopkeeper" by a local community group.

The married father-of-one was originally from Bangladesh but had lived in Dublin for several years.

'Part of a community'

Mr Hussein made many friends during his time in the city, and also became a keen fan of Gaelic games, according to his employer, Peggy Groarke.

"Akram will be missed by everyone in Drumcondra," she told BBC News NI.

"A condolence book was opened in the store at the request of the local community," she added.

"The notes left by people who have signed it would bring tears to the eyes of any reader."

image copyrightFamily photo
image captionAkram Hussein was a married father of one from Bangladesh

Mr Hussein was the main breadwinner for his family in Bangladesh, according to Siobhán Cahill Dermody.

"Akram Hussein was someone who I saw several times a week and considered a family friend," she wrote in a Facebook tribute.

"I've never met anyone who made so many people feel like a special friend."

She told BBC News NI that he was particularly kind to children and older people and regularly sent money home to support his elderly mother, wife and teenage son.

Ms Cahill Dermody said local residents are helping to raise funds to assist his family and a donation page has, so far, raised more than 24,000 euros (£21,000).

'Friendly and generous'

Blues singer Mary Stokes was among those who posted tributes on social media to the "warm, bright, smiling, friendly and generous shop worker".

She said he greeted all his customers by name and made everyone in the area "feel part of a community".

The singer has lived in Drumcondra for 17 years and got to know Mr Hussein well from visits to the store.

"Of course there are plenty of other shops in Dublin," she said, but added it was difficult to describe how effectively this "genuinely beautiful" man had touched the lives of his customers.

A local environmental group, Drumcondra Tidy Village, described Mr Hussein as the "world's best shopkeeper" and the "life and soul" of their community.

Gardaí (Irish police) have confirmed that they attended the scene of the robbery at the shop on Drumcondra Road Lower at about 09:15 local time on Sunday.

image copyrightGoogle Maps
image captionAkram Hussein died after chasing a robbery suspect from the Centra shop in Drumcondra

They said a youth ran into the store and took a number of items from shelf, and was then chased out of the shop by two staff members.

One of the workers, Mr Hussein, became unwell and was taken to the Mater Hospital by ambulance, where he later died.

"A file will be prepared for the Coroner's Court," a Garda statement said.

One man was arrested on Sunday evening and appeared in court the following day, charged in relation to theft.

Mr Hussein's repatriation is being organised by a senior member of the Bangladeshi community in Ireland.