The community of Kilcurry is mourning the tragic death of Edward Haughey whom they considered to be “one of our own”. Mr Haughey was one of four people who died in a helicopter crash in Norfolk on Thursday evening last at around 7.30pm.
The self-made multimillionaire whose business and political interest covered both sides of the border, was Northern Ireland’s richest man.
He was a financial supporter of the British Conservative party and was given the title Lord Ballyedmond when he took a seat in the House of Lords.
He was a native of Kilcurry and he went to the CSB secondary school in Dundalk, now Colaiste Rís, before emigrating to America where he used his experience in farming to launch a career in veterinary medicine.
He returned to Ireland to build his business empire, the centrepiece being Norbrook Laboratories based in Newry which employs a 1,000 people there, 1,700 in total.
He never forgot his roots and donated £250,000 towards the building of the Kilcurry Resource Centre.
Sean Marmion, chairperson of Kilcurry Resource Centre and Development, described Mr Haughey was a very generous man.
“Edward made a tremendous contribution to build the resource centre,” said Sean. “It was a major boost. Without Edward’s help, we would probably still be fundraising for the centre.”
He was was a very genuine man. He didn’t forget where he came from. He is one of our own.”
Sean went on to explain how vital the resource centre is to the locality.
“We literally had nothing in Kilcurry. There was no central point for the community. There was no place for community meetings to be held.”
When the old hall became derelict, the local committee purchased the land for the current centre.
“We purchased the land and only had a prefab on it,” said Sean. “The prefab remained there until we received the contribution from Edward.”
The community centre was opened on 15 June 2003 by Edward Haughey and Dermot Ahern.
Mr Haughey had only one condition for the centre - that a room would be named after his good friend Dinny Casey.
Today, the centre is a hive of activity in the heart of the community. The centre is used for everything. There is music, dance classes and social events every day. There is also a creche with over one-hundred children.
“We will be forever grateful to Edward for his contribution to the community and we send our sympathies to Edward’s family at this difficult time,” said Sean.