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Widow of Norbrook tycoon tops Northern Ireland rich list with fortune of £1.4bn

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 24/04/2015

Lady Mary Ballyedmond
Lady Mary Ballyedmond
Actress Roma Downey

Lady Mary Ballyedmond and family have topped the Northern Ireland rich list with an eye-watering fortune of £1.4bn.

The owners of Norbrook Laboratories pharmaceutical company in Newry are in a league of their own when it comes to wealth, according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2015.

Malibu-based Londonderry actress Roma Downey and her television producer husband Mark Burnett took the second slot on the list with a not too shabby £375m.

They are closely followed by £310m for Paul and Jeremy Eakin from the Co Down-based Eakin Group, which manufactures medical devices.

Following Lord Ballyedmond's death in a helicopter crash in 2014, Lady Mary and family are the wealthiest people in Northern Ireland, according to the rich list, which is published this weekend.

It charts the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the United Kingdom and the 250 richest in Ireland.

The list, compiled by British wealth expert Philip Beresford and edited by Ian Coxon, is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies.

It excludes bank accounts, to which the paper has no access. Lady Mary tops the list as she is now deputy chairman of the Newry-based Norbrook Laboratories, established by her late husband.

Their sons James and Edward are also directors of the company valued at £1bn - and the Ballyedmond family own it all.

The family's extensive property, art and land holdings add a further £400m to their fortune.

The 128-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine reveals the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK.

The list details the fortunes of people born in Northern Ireland and those who have made the bulk of their wealth here.

Downey and Burnett are one of US television's ultimate power couples.

She has been recognised as one of the top three most influential Christians in the United States.

Newsmax, the conservative US news media group, put her and her husband Mark Burnett near the top of their 100-strong list of Christian leaders across the pond who make a real impact on people's lives.

Recent credits include the blockbuster mini-series The Bible, in which Downey played Mary. Its sequel, AD, premiered in the United States on Easter Sunday.

Top 10

1 Lady Ballyedmond and family £1,400m

2 Roma Downey and Mark Burnett £375m

3 Paul and Jeremy Eakin and family £310m

4 Danny Hill £196m

5 John King £190m

6 Robert Barnett and family £182m

7 Kevin and Michael Lagan £176m

8 Chris Rea £163m

9 Chris Watson and family £155m

10 Harold Montgomery and family £113m

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