Sir Dennis Faulkner, brother of former NI PM, dies aged 90

Sir Dennis Faulkner during a UDR Regimental Association march past at an event in Rathfriland to mark the 40th anniversary of the regiment in 2010
Sir Dennis Faulkner during a UDR Regimental Association march past at an event in Rathfriland to mark the 40th anniversary of the regiment in 2010

Sir Dennis Faulkner CBE VRD UD DL, who served as regimental colonel for the Ulster Defence Regiment, has died at his home in Co Down aged 90.

A brother of former Northern Ireland prime minister Brian Faulkner, Sir Dennis has been praised by Jim Shannon MP “a man of immense character” who gave great service to his country.

Sir Dennis served his country in the Royal Navy and Army in positions of leadership and was a leader of men

Jim Shannon MP

He was educated at St Columba’s College, Dublin and went on to hold a number of senior military and civic positions.

As well as his role with the regiment – including many years as chairman of the UDR Benevolent Fund – the father-of-three held the rank of lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy Reserve and also served as deputy lieutenant of Co Down.

He was appointed Commander, Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1980, and was honoured with a Knighthood in 1991 for his services to the business community in Northern Ireland.

Mr Shannon, who also served in the UDR, said Sir Dennis would be sadly missed.

He said: “Sir Dennis served his country in the Royal Navy and Army in positions of leadership and was a leader of men.”

Mr Shannon added: “Let’s recall a man of stature, a man born and called for this time, who worked for all in his community and who will be fondly remembered by all who had the privilege to meet and to know him, we were all enriched for his friendship with us.”

The DUP MP also praised the former soldier for his efforts, as chair of the Ringhaddy Concerned Residents group, in protecting the natural beauty of Strangford Lough.

Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim Danny Kinahan also paid tribute to Sir Dennis as “a true son of Ulster” who “served his country faithfully in the Royal Navy and latterly the Ulster Defence Regiment”.

Mr Kinahan said: “I knew him through military circles, politics and as a family friend. We shared a common interest in fine arts and I always enjoyed being in his company.

“Sir Dennis was a personable and charitable man who will be sadly missed by his family, and his many friends and former colleagues.”

Royal Irish regimental secretary Colin Gray described Sir Dennis as “a wise and committed chairman of the UDR Benevolent Fund for many years”.

A spokeswoman for the Faulkner family said Sir Dennis was a “devoted father and grandfather whose lifelong passion was sailing”.

Sir Dennis, who was predeceased by his wife Janet, died on December 31. He is survived by children Katie, Hilary and Alison and grandchildren Anna, Alexander and Alice.

Following a private family funeral, a service of thanksgiving will be held in due course.