Noel Hanlon, the man behind Hanlon's ambulance factory in Longford town and Manford Clothing Company in Ballymahon, died in South Africa on Saturday. Mr Hanlon who was seventy-eight, has been ill for some time. Hanlon has resided in Capetown for a number of years, and he returned to Longford to visit during the summer. The well-known and liked entrepreneur is being remembered as 'one of the great men of Longford' and 'a larger than life personality'.
The late Mr Hanlon’s former ambulance factory on the Dublin Road, Longford where his son Paddy now runs a successful 24-hour filling station, employed 300 people during the 1980s. Mr Hanlon established the ambulance manufacturing business in the 1960s and at its height, the factory supplied 60% of the British ambulance market and also exported to the Middle East and Far East. Mr Hanlon also operated the Manford Clothing Company in Ballymahon, where high end coats and commercial uniforms were manufactured for many years under his stewardship.
Mr Hanlon was a close friend of former and late Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, and he held a number of chairmanships of state companies, and declined to accept payment for the appointments. He was made chairman of Aer Lingus in 1980. In 1992 Mr. Hanlon became chairman of the state operated private health insurance company, VHI, and in 1995 became the chairman of Aer Rianta. He also served as chairman of Foir Teoranta, the state established ‘lender-of-last-resort', which was established during bleak economic times to rescue businesses which found themselves in financial trouble.
Sincere sympathies have been extended from all sides of the political spectrum to the Hanlon family on the loss of their beloved Noel.
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