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Northern Ireland's 20 richest people - from car dealers to the Virgin Mary

Countdown of the wealthiest men and women from Northern Ireland

Published 01/05/2013

18= (970th) £75m down £35m (2012, £110m and 682nd)
Michael and Lesley Herbert
Food and property
Belfast-based Herbert (55) owns Herbel restaurants, which holds Europe’s largest Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Michael has named numerous developments after his wife and business partner Lesley.
18= (970th) £75m down £35m (2012, £110m and 682nd) Michael and Lesley Herbert Food and property Belfast-based Herbert (55) owns Herbel restaurants, which holds Europe’s largest Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Michael has named numerous developments after his wife and business partner Lesley.
18= (970th) £75m no change (2012, £75m and 962nd) Chris Rea Engineering Rathfriland-born Rea, who was educated at Queen’s, is the founder of mechanical seal maker AES SEAL Engineering. Rea (59 ) has a stake in the global company worth £75m.
18= (970th) £75m no change (2012, £75m and 962nd) Ernie Fisher Steel Ernie (61) and his family made £59m when Enniskillen-based Fisher Engineering, a steel fabricator, was sold for £90m in 2007. Ernie is the brother of the late racing driver Bertie Fisher.
18= (970th) £75m no change (2012, £75m and 962nd) David Agnew Car sales The Belfast-based car dealer Issac Agnew, which was owned by Agnew (67) and his family, was sold last year for £110m.
17 (956th) £78m new entry Michael Loughran Fuel Loughran runs the £70m Cookstown-based Lissan Coal Company. The business is a distributor in fuel, oil and gas, as well as a wholesaler of coal.
16 (921nd) £83m up £3m (2012, £80m and 908th) Eddie Irvine Motor racing and property The 47-year-old from Conlig, Co Down, earned £40m as a Formula One driver and is now developing houses in Florida. He bought Bangor Grammar School’s old site last year and also has a sports complex in the town.
15= ( 859th) £90m new entry Paul Smith and Sarah King TV Belfast-born Smith (66) and his wife Sarah run London-based Celador International, the company behind hit TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? His idea for the show was initially rejected — today it is aired in more than 105 countries. 16 (921nd) £83m up £3m (2012, £80m and 908th)
15=(859th) £90m new entry Ted Kelly Insurance The Co Armagh man joined Boston-based Liberty Mutual in 1992 and led it to a three-fold revenue increase. His salary as chairman was £33m a year for four years from 2008.
14(824th) £95m no change (2012, £95m and 785th) Harvey McGrath Hedge Fund Belfast-born Harvey (61) stepped down as chairman of Prudential last year. Some investors blamed him for Prudential’s failed bid for AIA in 2010. He made his fortune at the Man hedge fund.
13 (751st) £105m up £7m (2012, £98m and 482nd) Harold Montgomery Transport Montgomery owns Newtownabbey-based Ballyvesey Holdings. Specialising in freight transport and logistics throughout Britain and Ireland, the group’s other interests include trailer manufacturing, truck and trailer rental, commercial-vehicle auctions and property development.
12= £110m no change (2012, £110m and 682nd) Joe Sloan Food and drink distribution Sloan is the co-founder of SHS. The Co Antrim group owns food and drink brands. Sloan has a 50% stake in the £200m firm.
12= (713st) £110m no change(2012, £110m and 682nd) Brenda Salters Food and drink distribution Brenda (65) has a £100m stake in Co Antrim-based SHS which was co-founded by her late husband Geoff. SHS handles sales and marketing for big consumer brands such as Shloer and Merrydown cider.
11 (693rd) £112m no change (2012, £112m and 677th) Tony and Maureen Wheeler Publishing Tony (66) and Belfast-born Maureen (63) founded travel publisher Lonely Planet, which BBC worldwide bought for £131m. The Wheelers also make the Sunday Times giving list, having donated £4m recently.
10 (570th) £142 up £52m (2012, £90m and 821st) Robert Barnett Grain The 68-year-old is chairman and leading shareholder in W&R Barnett, a Belfast-based grain dealer that made £17.6m profit on £350.7m sales in the four months to July 2011. Barnett and his family hold a £142m stake in the company that is worth £160m.
9= (522nd) £150m down £70m (2012, £220m and 345th) Gerard O’Hare Property The 55-year-old businessman owns the Quay’s shopping complex in his home town of Newry, through his Parker Green International Group. Dr O’Hare is also a visiting professor at the University of Ulster.
9= (522nd) £150m down £50m (2012, £200m and 370th) Kevin and Michael Lagan Construction Brothers Kevin (63) and Michael (57) run six Belfast-based Lagan companies. The duo had a bitter feud, which emerged during a High Court case in 2008 but the details of which only became public last year.
8 (482nd) £162m down £2m (2012, £164m and 457th) John King Pharmaceutical When Warner Chilcott was taken over in 2005 for £1.6bn, King picked up £125m and stayed on as a director. The 64-year-old had run the Northern Ireland drugs company Galen since 2000. Dr King was a lecturer in the pharmacy department of Queen's University, Belfast.
7 (453rd) £178m down £22m (2012, £200m and 370th) Chris Watson and family Cycling Starting with a shop in Co Antrim, the Watson family has grown Chain Reaction Cycles into the world’s biggest online bike store. The Watsons also have a superstore in Belfast.
6(416th) £193m up £41m (2012, £152m and 495th) Tim Martin Hospitality The Northern-Ireland born founder of the chain JD Wetherspoon has almost 900 pubs in his stable. Martin (58) opened his first pub in 1979. He was educated at schools here including Campbell College in east Belfast.
5(414th) £195m down £17m (2012, £212m and 363rd) Sam Morrison Property The 61-year-old from Ballymena started in the world of business by selling leather jackets from his car. His Belfast-based Corbo Properties has 25 properties throughout the UK. It made a £4.4m loss in 2011-12.
4(375th) £210m up £20m (2012, £190m and 395th) Paul and Jeremy Eakin Medical supplies Brothers Paul (50) and Jeremy (45) own Comber-based TG Eakin, a medical device manufacturer. Since 1974 the company has gone from strength to strength and now supplies ostomy and wound care products all around the world.
3(368th) £215m down £15m (2012, £230m and 329th) Danny Hill Property and investment The Belfast-born entrepreneur built his fortune in property, mining and investments, particularly in Australia. The 70-year-old who retired in 2004 is now based in Monaco. He is involved in charitable work.
2(288th) £295m up £15m (2012, £280m and 275th) Mark Burnett and Roma Downey TV Londonderry-raised actress Roma Downey (52) is currently playing Virgin Mary in The Bible. She is married to Mark Burnett (52), who has produced reality programmes including The Survivor to The Apprentice. Burnett is worth £285m. Downey is worth £10m.
1(98th) 860m up £210m (2012, £650m and 127th) Lord Ballyedmond Pharmaceutical The Conservative peer Edward Haughey (69) owns Newry-based Norbrook, a veterinary drug firm. He lives in Ballyedmond Castle on the outskirts of Rostrevor in South Down. He was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Ulster in 2008 in recognition of his contribution to the development of the international pharmaceutical industry. He also tops the Sunday Times top political donors list at number 15, having recently contributed £125,000 to the Conservative Party.


The information shows their Northern Ireland position and their overall UK position, their wealth and a comparison with last year.

Belfast Telegraph

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