Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: The richest people from Northern Ireland - is Rory McIlroy wealthier than Liam Neeson?

Better late than never as veteran actor joins Northern Ireland’s super-wealthy

By Claire McNeilly

Who is wealthier... Rory McIlroy or Liam Neeson? You'd be forgiven for thinking that the 26-year-old golf superstar from Holywood - who has a $100m deal with Nike among his many endorsements - would have amassed more riches than the veteran Ballymena-born actor, but you'd be wrong.

According to this year's Sunday Independent Rich List, the 63-year-old's bank balance is actually £14m healthier than his younger compatriot's.

Oscar-nominated for his role in Schindler's List, Neeson is currently ranked at 117 out of the 300 wealthiest people in Ireland, with assets oflAD £91m - and that also makes him Northern Ireland's 17th richest person.

The Neeson coffers are suddenly bursting with money following his successful turn as a butt-kicking father and spy in the Taken trilogy.

The first movie earned him a modest $1m, but the final part of the trilogy netted him $30m - and suddenly Neeson was A-list and one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.

Although McIlroy struggled with injury and a loss of form last year, the four-times Major winner, who is listed at number 134, is worth £77m, with Forbes estimating that he is the 12th highest-paid athlete in the world.

He drives a £295,000 Lamborghini Aventador and has a £7.7m home in Florida's Palm Beach, as well as property in Dubai and Northern Ireland. The curly-haired golf sensation is Northern Ireland's 19th wealthiest individual.

In position 35, actress and producer Downey (55) from Londonderry is our second wealthiest person and Northern Ireland's richest woman.

The Touched By An Angel star Roma is worth £303m and, along with husband Mark Burnett, has produced shows such as The Apprentice, The Voice and Survivor.

F1 hero and property magnate Eddie Irvine is ranked at 182 and, with a personal fortune of £60m, he's the 25th richest from here. The 50-year-old from Conlig, Co Down, made about £35m during his racing career and has spent lots of it on an island, the Anaconda super-yacht, a private jet and partying.

Legendary east Belfast singer - and recently knighted - Van Morrison is ranked at 234 out of 300 and said to be worth around £49m.

The 70-year-old has sold more than 48 million albums during a career spanning more than five decades and the royalties keep coming in, making him Northern Ireland's 30th richest.

Down hotelier Billy Hastings (87), who owns the Europa, is our 34th wealthiest person, worth £38m and ranked at 263 on the Rich List.

In at 290, Hollywood star Michael Fassbender, whose mother is from Larne, is worth £27m.

The family of the late Lord Ballyedmond are still the richest people in Northern Ireland, with assets worth £322m.

Edward Haughey, the self-made multi-millionaire, died in 2014 when the helicopter he was flying in crashed on his Norfolk estate.

Lady Mary, his widow, and sons James and Eddie jnr, now own the Norbrook Laboratories business.

In addition to the successful animal pharmaceutical company, the Haugheys own castles in Rostrevor and Cumbria, as well as a house in London's ultra-exclusive Belgrave Square, which is worth £39m.

The amount of wealth required to be included on the rich list, at £23m, has almost doubled in the past five years.

The list compiles the top 300 wealthiest people and families who are based or born in Ireland, with 36 of the entries hailing from Northern Ireland this year.

Belfast Telegraph


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