Sad passing of Fermanagh businessman Jimmy Byrne

By John Carney
FERMANAGH lost one of its greatest entrepreneurs after the death of popular and well-known businessman Jimmy Byrne last week.
Mr Byrne, 85, was the director and founder of Modern Tyres, Ireland’s largest independent tyre retailers, establishing the business almost 60 years ago.
In a social media post, the firm said: “It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Jimmy Byrne. Jimmy passed peacefully at his home on Friday, 3rd June.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Byrne family; our thoughts are with them at this most difficult time.
“Jimmy founded Modern Tyres in 1965 and has been an inspirational leader and huge driving force behind the company. He will be greatly missed, by his family, all at Modern Tyres and his very many friends.”
The father-of-five was originally from Dublin but moved to the North in the early 1960s and opened his first retail/wholesale tyre depot in the Old Railway Yard in Enniskillen. Thanks to hard work, shrewdness and patience he built and expanded the family business as time went on.
Mr Byrne’s funeral took place on Monday at 11am in St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen.
At the funeral mass, Monsignor Peter O’Reilly described Mr Byrne’s work as “much more than a business, more a way of life”.
“As a comedian [once] said: ‘It takes years to be an overnight success’,” Monsignor O’Reilly told the mourners.
“Jimmy’s way of life was all about his family, his workers and his customers too. That’s where the genius was – finding something to facilitate family life. Work was important, but family always came first.”
An active and social man, Mr Byrne loved running, hiking, swimming, weight lifting and the outdoors as well as being a member of the Investment Club and the local Bridge Club, and enjoyed coffee mornings and many other community activities.
“He leaves behind many memories – too many memories for this one hour [service] – but ones we will all remember in the future. There is so much to give thanks for today,” Monsignor O’Reilly said.
Tributes flowed for Mr Byrne with many describing him as “a great boss” and “a true gentleman”.
Over the years, Modern Tyres has gone from strength to strength and now has 40 depots across Ireland employing several hundred people, including a network of fast-fit centres, an alloy wheel wholesale company and a tyre wholesale company.
Husband of the late Margaret, Mr Byrne is survived by sons Niall (Sonya), Rory, (Caroline), Shane (Korena) and Connor, (Shauna) and daughter Siobhan and 19 grandchildren.
He also leaves a brother Michael and sisters Annie Daly and Kathleen Murray.
He was pre-deceased by siblings Mary, Carmel, Maggie, John and Harry.


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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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