Kinahan, Charles Henry Grierson (1915–95), businessman and politician, was born 10 July 1915 in Belfast, eldest son of Henry Kinahan, Belfast businessman, and his wife Ula, daughter of the Rt Rev. C. T .P. Grierson (1857–1935), bishop of Down and Connor and Dromore. His brother was Robert G. C. Kinahan (qv). He was educated at Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, and began work with the Vacuum Oil Company in London before moving to Singapore (1938), where he got a position with a British merchant house. On the outbreak of the second world war he joined the Singapore Voluntary Corps, but was taken prisoner by the Japanese in 1942. From Changi he was sent to work on the Burma railway, spending time in camps involved in building the bridge over the River Kwai. There he remained until the end of the war, visiting neighbouring Kanchanauri as a member of ration parties, and often putting himself at risk by smuggling forbidden items such as batteries for the camp radio. In spite of the treatment endured by him and his fellow prisoners he never retained any bitterness towards Japan, believing it was better to look ahead to the future rather than dwell on the past. As a result, along with his family he visited Japan in 1954 for a holiday.
After the war Kinahan soon returned to the Far East, where he resumed his business career in Singapore and Malaya, becoming (1952) director of Dunlop Malayan Estates, a post he held until 1956. In that year he came back to Belfast to take over the running of the long-established family wine and spirit company, Lyle & Kinahan (1956–63). In the mid 1960s the business was sold to Charrington United Breweries, but he continued to serve on the board of Lyle & Kinahan and the successor companies until his retirement in 1977.
Outside his business interests he served on a diverse range of bodies within Northern Ireland. From 1966 to 1980 he was a Belfast harbour commissioner, helping to oversee the management of the port, and acted as chairman of the commission between 1969 and 1973. In 1968 he was appointed to the senate of QUB, and for the next twenty-five years actively involved himself in its work and chaired numerous committees. His work in this period was recognised in 1993, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university. Kinahan also acted as chairman and president of the Northern Ireland Marriage Guidance Council (1975–84), chairman of the Northern Ireland Historic Building Society (1973–88), and chairman of the Northern Ireland Mountain Rescue working committee (1976–7) and its coordinating committee (1976–85). His role as chairman of the Ulster 1971 Exhibition was recognised by a CBE (1972); he also served as a trustee on the National Heritage Memorial Fund (1980–91) and became a JP (1961) and high sheriff of Antrim (1971). He was active as a member of numerous boards of school governors, as well as taking part in the Church of Ireland at both parish and diocesan level.
He joined the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland in 1973 and unsuccessfully sought nomination for election to the Northern Ireland assembly for the constituency of Antrim South. Two years later he was elected as an Alliance member in Antrim South for the constitutional convention (1975–6); he later represented the party on Antrim borough council (1977–81). On three occasions (February, October 1974; May 1979) Kinahan contested the Antrim South seat for the Westminster parliament. Each time, however, his unionist opponent heavily defeated him. He continued to serve on the party's executive and was its spokesman on agriculture and European affairs as well as party president (1982–3). He died on 11 August 1995.
He met and married (1946) Kathleen (MB, BSc, JP, MBE), eldest daughter of the Rev. E. L. L. McClintock. She survived him, together with their three sons, John, Robin, and Timothy.