RIP Jim Irwin

Almost no-one in New Zealand will know who was, but he was well known to those involved in the International Democratic Union having served as Treasurer for many years.

I’ve just been told the sad news that Jim passed away this week, aged 73. Jim was a generous man who often personally funded many events for the International Young Democrat Union. He was great company, as those of us who got to know him can testify. After one meeting in Thailand, he took a few of us out on his yacht (actually a super-yacht) around the Pee Pee Islands for a few days. It was a wonderful time as we would have every meal on a different island, always diving off the ship and swimming to shore. The water was so warn we even went swimming at midnight some nights!

Jim was a self-made man. I’m not sure of his exact wealth but think he was a billionaire. He was a proud Irish-American, and his father was a battalion chief in the New York City Fire Department. Jim took over IMPAC in 1972 when it had six staff, and built it into a company today with over 2,000 staff.

His generosity was not limited to the and :

In 1994, James B. Irwin endowed the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the globe’s richest literary prize for a single work of fiction. Each year a winning author receives 100,000 Euros.

James B. Irwin is also the founder of the leading literary prize for Mexican Writers, the IMPAC Monterey Literary Award, conducted in partnership with Monterey Institute of Technology. The IMPAC Award for Young Writers, which honors the best work of young authors from throughout the State of Connecticut, was established by James B. Irwin and is co-sponsored by the Connecticut State University.

The, United States National Task Force for Children has honored James B. Irwin, for his work in promoting children’s rights throughout the United States. He had been honored and recognized by the Adam Walsh Foundation for Missing and Exploited Children, The Muscular Dystrophy Association, The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association and many other charitable and philanthropic organizations around the world.

Jim will be sorely missed by not just his family, but all those who knew him.

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