Dr Lyons was a 'truly innovative' entrepreneur, says Breathnach

The businessman died in the USA this week, aged 73.

Barry Landy

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Barry Landy

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barry.landy@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Dr Lyons was a 'truly innovative' entrepreneur, says Breathnach

The Deputy has paid his respects to Dr Pearse Lyons.

Dr Pearse Lyons was a "true entrepreneur who had a real vision", according to Declan Breathnach TD who has paid tribute to the businessman after his death in the United States. 

The founder and president of American animal nutrition business Alltech, who also was involved and had a long standing interest in brewing, has died of an acute lung condition, aged 73. 

He was born and raised in Dundalk and worked at Harp Lager as a teenager before going onto a hugely successful career in business at home and in America, first emigrating in the 1970s. 

“Pearse was a true entrepreneur who had real vision. After building a career in the brewing industry, he developed a specialised yeast-based technology and saw the potential in using this innovative product in plant and animal nutrition," Breathnach said. 

"His business Alltech went on to become an extremely successful Irish-US company, employing more than 5,000 staff, and having its European Headquarters in Dunboyne. More recently he developed the Pearse Lyons Distillery on Dublin’s James Street, now a major tourist attraction."

“The seeds of that entrepreneurial spirit were sown in his teens. While still studying at the Marist School in Dundalk, he had a part-time job at the local Bingo Hall, which included clearing up at the end of each night. In those days, in true recycling style, you could return mineral bottles to the retailer for a small sum of money," he continued.

"He gathered up bottles left behind after the bingo and made a profit by returning them to the shop. However, he was clever enough to leave some of the bottles behind for the cleaners, thus sharing the spoils.

"When he left that job he passed on his wisdom to the next young student who was taking over from him. However, that student got greedy and failed to leave some bottles behind for the cleaners, thus bringing a spotlight to his own activities and bringing an end to same."

Dr Lyons, who was recently listed as the fifth richest man in Ireland in the Sunday Independent's Rich List, was also heavily involved in setting up a sister city agreement between his home town Dundalk and Pikeville, Kentucky - where his company Alltech made significant investment a number of years ago. 

“Pearse always had a grá for Dundalk, and while I was Chairman of Louth County Council we welcomed a visiting delegation from Pikeville, Kentucky for St. Patrick’s Day, and from then on Dundalk has retained a link with Pikeville," Breathnach added. 

“He was a truly innovative man and will be sorely missed. I send condolences to his wife Deirdre, daughter Aoife and son Mark. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

Funeral masses will be held for Dr Lyons in both Kentucky on March 17th and in Dublin in April.