Two of Scotland’s best known businesspeople have paid tribute to philanthropist Chuck Feeney, who has died aged 92. During his lifetime, the Irish-American entrepreneur gave away most of his fortune, much of it to Irish causes

Sir Tom Hunter said: “I was very sad to hear of his passing. What another US billionaire Warren Buffet said about Chuck Finney was: ‘He’s a hero of mine and he should be everybody’s hero.’ 

“Basically, Chuck started with nothing, but he would give away more than Andrew Carnegie. In fact, he ended up giving away $8 billion. The funny thing about his giving is he made it a condition his name was never attached to it.”

Lord Willie Haughey recalled being at a small gathering in New York where Feeney was in the room.

“Obviously, he was holding court and everyone was hanging on his every word. 

“How he made his money came from a fantastic idea. In the early Fifties, when American soldiers were being posted all around the world, they would come back complaining about the high cost of things. 

“So he had this great notion about duty free, if you were abroad. Feeney and his business partner, Robert Miller, basically invented all the duty free shops we see throughout the world today.

“He was obviously of Irish stock and very, very proud of his roots. I remember watching the Eurovision song contest a few years ago, televised in Ireland, and thinking: ‘What a phenomenal venue. How can the local authorities have afforded to spend that amount of money on it? I found out later, he had paid for it all!”

Sir Tom highlighted how Feeney became involved in the Northern Ireland peace process by giving money both to both sides in the conflict 

“This was on the condition they both worked with President Clinton to broker peace,” he told listeners to the Go Radio Business Show. “He ended up giving a lot of money there. 

“He also really believed in education and he gave more than a billion dollars to Irish education. What a role model!”