Golf resort plan businessman Alistair Hanna dies

Dr Alistair Hanna, who has died aged 69
Dr Alistair Hanna, who has died aged 69

A US-based Northern Ireland businessman behind plans to build a £100 million golf resort on the Causeway Coast has died.

Dr Alistair Hanna, 69, lost a long battle with cancer at the weekend.

The Belfast-born millionaire, who had lived in the United States for 40 years, headed the consortium planning the Bushmills Dunes golf course and hotel.

Construction work is due to begin on the project in the autumn after a protracted planning and legal process that included a high profile High Court battle with the National Trust.

Dr Hanna’s widow Nancy has described her late husband as “one of a kind”.

“The Bushmills complex was the culmination of a life’s dreams, combining Ali’s passions for golf and for Northern Ireland,” she said.

“Ali inspired and warmed almost everyone he met.

“His kindness and love of life, his Irish way and humour; his respect for people and his deep faith and humility were characteristics which, coupled with his brilliance and perseverance, made Ali one of a kind.”

A memorial service is due to be held in New York later this month.

It will be in St Bartholomew’s church in Manhattan where Nancy Hanna was a former Episcopal minister.

Another service is also being planned in Northern Ireland later this year.

Dr Hanna was educated at Sullivan Upper School, Holywood and Queen’s University, Belfast where he graduated with honours in Physics in 1968.

He received a PhD in nuclear physics in 1972 after doing his research at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment near Harwell, Oxfordshire, and two years later was awarded an MBA at the Harvard Business School.

He worked with the international management consultancy firm McKinsey and Co for more than 25 years.

Dr Hanna became a director in 1986 and served as managing partner of the Stamford office, leading the microelectronics and software practices as well as the telecommunications and aerospace groups.

He retired from the firm in 1997.

Dr Hanna went on to found the non-profit organisation, Alpha North America, which offers help to churches, and in 2004 brought Alpha to Latin America.

He served on the boards of Fountain House in New York, Trinity Church in Wall St and the Queen’s Foundation and was also president of the US Friends of Queen’s. A keen golfer, he was a member of Royal Portrush Golf Club.

The businessman is survived by his wife Nancy, their daughter Anne, his brother David, his nephew Paul and niece Patricia.