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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 26 April, 2019

Budget Travel founder Gillian Bowler has died aged 64

The businesswoman also served as chairperson for Irish Life and Permanent.

Gillian Bowler
Gillian Bowler
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

BUDGET TRAVEL FOUNDER Gillian Bowler has died aged 64. It is understood that she had been ill for some time.

A well known figure in the Irish business community, Bowler also served as chairperson of Irish Life and Permanent.

She had founded Budget Travel in her early 20s in 1975, along with her husband Harry Synder. She sold 90% of her stake to UK group Granada in the late 80s before selling the other 10% in 1996.

Bowler was appointed to the board of Irish Life and Permanent in 1998, before stepping down from her position in 2010. CEO Paul Hackett told that she was “a very warm person” who was a pleasure to work with.

“Working alongside Gill and her husband, Harry, at Budget Travel was like working for one big family,” Hackett said.

“Gill was almost the face of the holiday industry in Ireland for many years. She was very far-seeing and great to work with. She was ahead of her time.”

Shaun Quinn, the CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said: “Gillian was a very dynamic, effective and truly inspirational Chair who successfully guided our organisation during its early formative years with her unique blend of insight and enthusiasm.

“On behalf of Fáilte Ireland, I would like to extend our condolences to her husband Harry and her extended family.”

She survived by her husband, Harry, and her step-daughter Rachel.

Many have paid tribute to Bowler, posting their reactions on Twitter.

According to, a celebration of Gillian’s life will take place in Mount Jerome in Dublin this Saturday at 10am.

Read: Colleagues express shock and sadness as Cork councillor dies suddenly

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Sean Murray

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