As we are drawing close to the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, it is natural that I pay tribute to the man who started in all and who I am proud to call my father, James White of County Donegal, a great Irish Businessman and Hotelier, an inspiration to all he represented, a great employer and generous to many organisations.
Jim White, as he was known to those he loved and who loved him, did things his way. He had great political achievements to his name which, in the 1970’s and early ’80’s were very significant for both himself and for Fine Gael. He was first elected in 1973 in the Donegal – Leitrim Constituency, but his greatest day that he always recalled with pride was topping the poll in the all-county Donegal Constituency in 1977, coming home with almost 11,000 first preference votes.
Daddy (as I called him) loved a good bargain and was a businessman at heart. He revolutionised Hotel Tourism in Ireland, particularly in Coach Tours sector. His vision and determination in establishing an international marketing division in several countries across Europe for the White Hotel Group, proved that he was ahead major hotel companies. He bought the Hydro Hotel in 1974 and paved the way for the hugely successful Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, putting Ireland firmly on the map.
As I take part in the festivities of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival this year, Daddy will be on my mind and he will be sorely missed.