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Charles Kinahan (1915 - 1995):
Businessman and politician

Charles Henry Grierson Kinahan was born in Belfast, the eldest son of Henry Kinahan, of the firm Lyle and Kinahan, wine and spirit merchants. Like his brother Robin Kinahan, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, and worked for the Vacuum Oil Company in London before moving to Singapore in 1938. On the outbreak of war in 1939 he joined the Singapore Voluntary Corps, but was taken prisoner by the Japanese on Singapore's surrender in 1942. Initially detained at what was known as Changi prisoner-of-war camp, he was sent to work on the Burma railway, and spent time in camps housing prisoners who were forced to build the famous, or infamous, bridge over the River Kwai. Occasionally, as a member of ration parties, he would smuggle certain forbidden items into other camps. Although he was sufficiently forgiving of the Japanese for his experiences - he holidayed in Japan in 1954 - nevertheless until the end of his life he rarely alluded to that period of his life.

After the war Kinahan soon resumed his Far East business career, in Singapore and Malaya, and was Director of Dunlop Malayan Estates Ltd.  In 1956 he returned to Belfast as Managing Director of Lyle & Kinahan (1956-63). In the mid 1960s the business was sold to Charrington United Breweries, and Kinahan became Director of Bass Ireland Ltd, Belfast, until his retirement in 1977.  

Kinahan devoted himself to a wide range of activities outside his business. He was a Belfast Harbour Commissioner 1966-1980, chairing the Harbour Commission for four of these years; in 1968 he was appointed to the Senate of Queen's University, Belfast He was an active member of Senate and in 1993 was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1993. Chairman, then President, of the Northern Ireland Marriage Guidance Council 1969-84, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Historic Buildings Council 1973-88, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Mountain Rescue Working Committee 1976-7 and its Coordinating Committee 1976-85; Chairman of the "Ulster 71" Exhibition; and a trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Kinahan was also involved in politics as a member of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, which he joined in 1973 and whose spokesman on agriculture and European affairs he was, as well as Vice-chairman and later President; he was a member of Antrim District Council, 1977-1981. He contested the Westminster seat of Antrim South at the general elections of 1974 and that of 1979, though unsuccessfully in that predominantly Ulster Unionist seat. Kinahan became a JP in 1961, was appointed High Sheriff of County Antrim in 1971 and Deputy Lieutenant in 1977. He was active in the Church of Ireland, both at parish and diocesan level; (one of his sons became a Church of Ireland rector). He was appointed CBE in 1972.

Born: 10 July 1915
Died: 11 August 1995
Richard Froggatt

Wesley McCann