Quirke, Diarmuid Francis (1931–94), company director and president of the Federated Union of Employers (FUE), was born 25 August 1931, second son of Eamonn Quirke, civil servant, of 31 Castle St., Dalkey, Co. Dublin, and Christine Quirke (née Toner). After graduating with a degree in engineering he entered the cement industry (1955), eventually joining Irish Cement Ltd, where he spent time in various senior technical roles. At this time he was seconded to companies in both Iran (1963–6) and Zambia (1968–71). He was later appointed managing director (1983–6) of Irish Cement Ltd. Three years later he became group-managing director (1986–91) of Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) in Ireland with the UK operation coming under his remit two years later (1988).
In 1986 he also became president (1986–8) of the FUE. During his term the government (1987–9) was attempting to negotiate what eventually became the Programme for National Recovery that was agreed in 1987. Prior to the agreement, frustration with the second National Understanding (1980) had led the FUE to adopt a policy of negotiating with individual industries. However, recognising that the government was likely to conclude an acceptable agreement with the public sector, he steered the FUE towards an agreement for the private sector with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. As president of the FUE he also attended the annual conference of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva in 1986 and 1987. After his term as president he was appointed treasurer (1988–93), during which time he played a significant role in the negotiations that resulted in the formation (1993) of the Irish Business Employers Confederation (IBEC), of which the FUE formed a part. After the formation of the new organisation he became chairman (1993–4) of the finance and organisation committee.
After retiring from CRH he became chairman of Irish Cement (1991–4) and Irish Steel (1992–4). In the latter capacity he was responsible for proposing a plan (1994) to the government that was intended to ensure the survival of the company through £8.4 million of savings. In addition to his chairmanship of Irish Steel he served the government on the National Enterprise Agency and the Moriarty task force on industrial policy. Having been a director of Heiton Holdings Ltd since March 1991, he became chairman (1992–4) in November 1992 and retained the post until his death, at the Blackrock Clinic, Co. Dublin, on 21 September 1994.
He married (1956) Joan Hayes of Dublin; they had one son and three daughters and lived at Doonbeg, Silchester Road, Glenageary, Co. Dublin.