Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Northern Ireland's richest people - How loaded are Rory McIlroy, Liam Neeson and Van Morrison?

Northern Ireland’s richest businessmen, sporting stars and actors have amassed billions of pounds in personal fortunes despite the economic downturn, writes Lindsay Fergus

41. John McGuckian £30M
Textiles, up £2.6m
Ballymena man
McGuckian's textile
firm makes bombproof
jockstraps for
the US marines among
other products. He also
owns a large share portfolio
that includes stakes
in UTV.
41. John McGuckian £30M Textiles, up £2.6m Ballymena man McGuckian's textile firm makes bombproof jockstraps for the US marines among other products. He also owns a large share portfolio that includes stakes in UTV.

A total of 41 movers and shakers have made it on to a list of Ireland’s wealthiest people with an accumulated pot of more than £3.8bn.

However, that figure is nothing when you compare it to the mammoth fortune of the richest man in Ireland, the India-based industrialist Pallonji Mistry and his family who are worth a staggering £7bn — almost double Northern Ireland’s 41 multi-millionaires’ combined total.

According to this year’s Sunday Independent Rich List, which features the wealthiest 300 people in the Republic and Northern Ireland, just three people from here make it into the top 50.

They are entrepreneur Eddie Haughey with £366m, Londonderry-born actress Roma Downey with £222m and property boss Sam Morrison with £203m.

Although still out in pole position in Northern Ireland sitting at position 26, and well clear of his closest rival Roma Downey at position 43, Mr Haughey has seen his wealth spiral down by £35m, costing him two places in this year’s Rich List.

Overall the past year has been a good one for Northern Ireland’s super rich with 23 of them seeing their fortunes rise despite the challenging economic global climate that has seen so many businesses go to the wall and so many of their executives file for bankruptcy.

The biggest winner was Chris Rea — not the popular singer — who climbed 23 places to 71 in the Rich List but has also seen his wealth soar by £44m to £131m.

The Queen’s University Belfast graduate is best known as the founder of manufacturing firm AESSEAL.

However, 14 of our multi-millionaires saw their fortunes decline, in particular Andrew Creighton and Frank Boyd who saw their wealth fall to £64m, a loss of £136m.

The property magnates were hit hard by the property slump that has claimed so many of their rivals in recent years.

However, they do continue to run one of the biggest property companies in Northern Ireland.

Other losers in the property downturn were Sam Morrison who lost £12m and Michael Herbert who saw £33m wiped off his assets.

While four new names from here made it into the Rich List, another four well-known personalities disappeared out of the coveted top 300 slots.

The new faces are insurance boss Ted Kelly, Chris Watson and his family who own the Chain Reaction bicycle firm which has enjoyed a spectacular rise to global success, truck maker Harold Montgomery and of course the world number one golfer, Rory McIlroy.

Those who have been knocked out are developer Shamus Jennings who was 119 last year with £67m, newspaper owner Lord Kilclooney who was 267th with £23m, football manager Martin O’Neill from Kilrea who was 280th with £21m and golfer Darren Clarke who claimed the last slot, 300, with £18m.

The golfer revealed recently that he lost a lot of money through his purchase of a private jet, which he described as “a money pit”.

However, he said he wasn’t too concerned about money and was happy as long as he was playing golf well.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz