Belfast Telegraph

Armagh pensioner is richest person in Northern Ireland with £782m

By Mark Edwards

A pub chain tycoon, a former Queen's University lecturer and a Hollywood actor are all among the highest earners from Northern Ireland.

Our wealthiest were revealed in the Sunday Independent's Top 250 of the richest people across Ireland.

Armagh woman Freddie Linnett (68) tops the list as the richest person from Northern Ireland, worth an estimated £782m.

Her uncles Hughie and Paddy Murphy left her a 32% stake in property group Charles Street, which owns office blocks, residential property and shopping centres in the UK.

Next is Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin (62), who is said to be worth around £410m thanks to his empire of more than 900 pubs in the UK and Ireland.

Roma Downey (57), from the Bogside in Derry, and her husband Mark Burnett are estimated to have £365m in the bank thanks to the success of their TV production company.

They have cashed in on the ratings of shows like The Apprentice, Survivor and The Voice.

Former Queen's lecturer John King (68) comes in at fourth.

He was a key player in the development of Galen, our biggest drug company before it was bought by Warner Chilcott in 2004.

His estimated wealth is around £296m.

Co Down pharmacist Tom Eakin (84) is worth £293m. He set up his company in 1974 to produce medical products. TG Eakin is one of Northern Ireland's most innovative companies, generating pre-tax profits of £21.8m last year.

Belfast-born Danny Hill (75) emigrated to Australia at the age of 13 and made his fortune mining nickel in the 1970s. He is worth £275m.

Property magnate Paddy McKillen (62) comes in at seventh and is estimated to be worth £275m.

Belfast-born Mr McKillen, who owns Clarendon Properties, has developed shopping centres and has built up a portfolio of valuable assets.

Co Down-born Chris Rea (64) has built up Aes Engineering into the world's biggest manufacturer of mechanical seals. He has a personal worth of £169m.

Haulage magnate Harold Montgomery has built up a fortune of around £169m through his firm Ballyvesey.

The Murphy Family, believed to be worth around £160m, come in 10th position. The family are behind Antrim-based scrap and recycling firm Clearway Hammond.

Kevin and Michael Lagan, from Belfast, established construction firm Lagan Group in the 1960s. The brothers are now worth £147m.

Golfer Rory McIlroy holed £18m in the financial year 2016 to 2017. In April he signed a lucrative 10-year extension to his clothing deal with Nike, meaning he is now worth around £138m.

Food and drink distributors Joe Sloan and Brenda Salters are said to be worth around £133m each thanks to their shares in Belfast-based SHS Group.

Jim and Jack Dobson, worth £124m, sold the Irish assets of Tyrone-based Dunbia to Dawn Meats last May.

Armagh-born Edmund F Kelly earned £122m in just three years as chief executive of Liberty Mutual, the US insurance company, while Ballymena actor Liam Neeson (65) is estimated to be worth £108m.

Belfast Telegraph

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