Belfast Telegraph

Sir Dennis Faulkner, brother of Northern Ireland's last premier passes away aged 90


By Alf McCreary

Sir Dennis Faulkner, a former regimental colonel of the Ulster Defence Regiment, has passed away aged 90.

He was a well-known businessman, a former deputy lieutenant of Co Down, and the younger brother of Brian Faulkner, last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

Colonel Sir James Dennis Compton Faulkner was born in Helen's Bay on October 22, 1926, and was the youngest son of James and Nora Faulkner.

His father was a leading businessman who owned the Belfast Collar Company, which traded under the name of Faulat. At one time it was thought to be the largest single-purpose shirt factory in the world, with some 3,000 employees.

There was a Faulat Ladies Pipe Band, which was well-known and played frequently at functions throughout Northern Ireland.

Dennis Faulkner's brother Brian was an outstanding Ulster Unionist politician who received praise from across the board for his work as Minister of Commerce from 1963.

His tireless efforts in the role resulted in considerable inward investment.

His businesslike approach in this job was reminiscent of the commercial ability of his father and younger brother, whom he resembled physically.

In a turbulent political career, Brian Faulkner became the sixth and last Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, from March 23, 1971 until March 30, 1972, when the province came under direct rule from London.

He was briefly head of the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive that was brought down by the Ulster Workers' Council strike in May of 1974.

He died in a hunting accident near his home at Seaforde, Co Down, in March 1977

His able younger brother was also a staunch unionist, but he chose a commercial career and was associated with a number of leading businesses in Northern Ireland.

Dennis Faulkner also had a distinguished service career.

He was a former officer in the Royal Navy, and a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve.

He was later commissioned into the UDR, which was established in 1970 to add to existing Army and police resources in combating the Provisional IRA and other paramilitary groups.

Dennis Faulkner was appointed CBE in 1980, and he was later knighted for his services.

He was a charming man, with considerable inner strength and determination that earned the respect of many.

Dennis was also a noted yachtsman, and took part in several Fastnet races.

He was one of the few people from Irish shores to have taken part in the Southern Hemisphere classic, the Buenos Aires-Rio de Janeiro race.

And in 1969 he became commodore of the Irish Cruising Club.

Dennis Faulkner was predeceased by his wife Janet, and he is survived by his children Katie, Hilary and Alison, and his grandchildren Anna, Alexander and Alice.

A service of thanksgiving for his life will be announced by his family later.

Belfast Telegraph


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