Known as a “gentleman” whose business skills were matched only by his kindness and compassion, tributes were paid to former Independent Newspapers director Billy Allen.
he former head of broadcast accounts died a week before his 99th birthday.
Originally from Fairview in Dublin, Billy was only 16 when he took his first job in 1939 at Independent Newspapers – now known as Mediahuis – climbing the ranks of the newspaper company.
Throughout an illustrious 49-year career, he was greatly respected and admired by the staff who held him in great affection.
A former colleague recalled him as “an excellent, talented and knowledgeable manager” with “a wonderful welcoming smile and a winning manner”. Upon entering the newspaper industry, Billy had followed in the footsteps of his father, Henry J Allen, who began a career as a journalist with the Independent Irish in 1916. And in turn, Billy’s own son Harry Allen also continued a 45-year career with the company.
He worked as a finance administrator. His retirement in 2014 ended a century of Allen family ties with independent newspapers.
After his retirement, Billy would often come to the office to meet his son, Harry, for coffee, with a line of current employees waiting to chat with him.
With his beloved wife, Johanna (Josie) who passed away before him, Billy had four children, Harry, William, Eamonn and the late Delia, and was the grandfather of Robert, Ruth, Aveen, Siobhan and Ciara, as well as the great-grandfather of Alison, AimÃ©e, Caiden and Eabha.
He is fondly remembered as “a special uncle” who, in the early years, arrived on his BSA motorbike “armed with bags of candy for all”.
Billy was a dedicated member of the GAA, with a particular love for hurling, playing at the juvenile level in the Marino Street leagues run by St Vincent’s and at the school level in Marino.
In his club career he started at St Vincent’s in Fairview before moving to Colmcille’s, playing until his late 30s.
His family noted that his club change was no accident – it allowed him to court Josie, his future wife – whose family was involved with Colmcilles.
Billy was also a member of the founding committee of St Patrick’s GAA Club, Palmerstown in 1961, contributing as a team mentor and transportation provider, his three sons playing on teams.
In the early 1970s he rekindled his ties with St Vincent in Marino, acting as a mentor for the Hurling Junior teams and as a club representative for the Dublin Junior Hurling Board, serving over 35 years.
He spent a decade as treasurer of the Junior Hurling Board, retiring at the age of 80. He has remained a proud member of St Vincent’s, faithfully renewing his membership every year without fail.
The funeral procession will pass by Billy’s home in Palmerstown on Saturday around 11 a.m. to allow friends and family to pay their respects.