Dynasties 2018: Private people, public battles

Dynasties 2018: Private people, public battles View Gallery

Margaret Heffernan and her family actively shun publicity, but their Dunnes Stores empire still has a knack of hitting the headlines, writes Colette Sexton

It is a profoundly successful Irish retailer, an epic business success story and one of the country’s biggest employers – but the bosses behind Dunnes Stores do not court attention. Instead, the retailer is ruled tightly and quietly by matriarch Margaret Heffernan, who in the early 1990s took over the business founded by her father, Ben Dunne.

A “shopping frenzy” ensued when the first Dunnes Stores opened on Patrick Street in Cork in 1944. The...

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