Belfast Telegraph

Warm funeral tribute paid to 'inspirational' Lord Ballyedmond Edward Haughey

BY CHRIS KILPATRICK

Northern Ireland's richest man Lord Ballyedmond was an adviser, inspiration and friend, mourners at his funeral were told.

The peer, died alongside three others when his helicopter came down shortly after take-off in foggy conditions near an estate he owned in Gillingham, Norfolk.

Also known as Dr Edward Haughey, the 70-year-old businessman, who lived in Co Down, was a self-made multi-millionaire with an estimated wealth in excess of £800m.

Many of the 2,000 people he employed in Northern Ireland were among those to pay their respects at his funeral Mass in Newry yesterday, the city in which he founded his Norbrook firm more than four decades ago.

Among the mourners inside the city's cathedral were First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Lord Trimble, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Outside, more than 1,000 people gathered as the funeral cortege passed through the city centre.

Shops along the route remained shut for much of the day as a mark of respect.

Canon Francis Brown said the sudden death of the tycoon had been sorely felt in Newry and much further afield.

He told of Lord Ballyedmond's thirst for scientific developments, education and charity work, much of which went unpublicised.

"Lord Ballyedmond's death is painful for many people," the cleric said.

"Many people in Newry and far beyond are suffering a huge loss. They are identifying, in the best way they can, with the pain and tremendous loss suffered by his wife Mary, his daughter Caroline, his sons Edward and James, the Haughey family and Edward's many friends."

His children addressed the congregation, each reading verses during the service.

Best known as chairman and founder of Co Down-headquartered Norbrook Laboratories – the largest privately-owned pharmaceutical company in the world – the father-of-three had a range of other business interests.

"He was a self-taught, hard working, determined individual who had a thirst for knowledge," said Canon Brown.

Stressing the importance the businessman's family held in Mr Haughey's life, the priest said the "great influence" he had on others extended beyond relations and friends.

"Edward made many significant donations over the years to educational establishments and charitable organisations," he said.

"Most of these were never published and many charities and schools in the locality benefited. He had a keen interest in the development of the science subjects in all educational establishments."

Prayers were said for the other victims of the air tragedy which happened earlier this month.

Following the funeral service, Lord Ballyedmond's burial took place across the Irish border in his native county of Louth.

Declan Small, Dr Haughey's site foreman at the Norbrook plant in Newry, also died in the crash.

The 42-year-old's funeral was held on Sunday in his home town of Mayobridge, Co Down.

Helicopter pilots Captain Carl Dickerson (36) and Captain Lee Hoyle (45) were also killed.

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