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Service to be held today in memory of Irish Everest climber John Delaney

Delaney, a successful businessman who founded the market prediction company Intrade, died last weekend just 50 metres from the summit of Everest. Business colleagues have been paying tribute to him after his tragic death.

John Delaney on a climbing expedition in 2005
John Delaney on a climbing expedition in 2005

THE FAMILY OF Laois native John Delaney, who died attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest, will celebrate his memory today with a service in his home town of Ballinakill, Co. Laois, reports The Leinster Express.

Delaney’s family will never be able to bury his body, as it will lie where he fell, 50 metres from the top of the world’s highest mountain. It would be too dangerous for other climbers to try to carry him back down the mountain. The 42-year-old died last Saturday, but news of his passing didn’t reach his family on Tuesday, as the team he was climbing with were unable to make contact.

Tragically his wife Orla gave birth to a baby girl just three days before he died. The child, to be called Hope, was born prematurely, reports the New York Times, and her father was not informed of her birth as the family did not want to worry him and his wife wanted it to be a surprise. The couple already have two sons and lived in Kilcock, Co. Kildare.

Delaney, who held a Masters in finance from UCD, was CEO and founder of the prediction market Intrade, which has operated in Ireland since 1999. A statement on the company’s website pays tribute to him, saying:

His wife and children, plus all of the Intrade family, mourn his passing but know that John always strove for the summit – be it on Everest or with Intrade. It is our goal to give his memory one of those wishes and will do all we can to ensure Intrade’s continued success.

The statement also says that climbing Everest was Delaney’s lifelong ambition. He had attempted to reach the summit once before, in 2006, but was unsuccessful due to bad weather. This time round he came within 50 metres before getting into difficulties.

The New York Times reports on the success of Delaney’s business venture, which allows customers to bet on the outcome of future market events like the outcome of a presidential election or how the financial markets will operate on any given day. The company is described as one of the biggest players in the field and had secured millions of dollars in investments.

Carl Wolfenden, an operations manager at Intrade told the New York Times that Delaney was an avid mountaineer who had climbed many of the world’s highest peaks, but that Everest had been his main goal.

In a blog post written in January 2010 Delaney said that he remembered the words of Winston Churchill when it came to tackling tasks:

Never, never, never give up.

He said he got his first job with an investment bank as a graduate after applying to the same firm five times in one month and that he applied Churchill’s philosophy to everything. BBC World News presenter Max Keiser had met with Delaney and said that he had been struck by his intense passion for mountain climbing and said that he spoke of Everest in “hushed tones”. Freakonomics.com writer Justin Wolfer has described Delaney as a “mad cap Irishman, and true sports fan” and said that he was:

Willing to help crazy academics like myself run new prediction markets, crunch data his markets had generated, or debate what it all means, over a Guinness.

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About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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