EDDIE Irvine has vowed to use his fortune to protect his coronavirus-battered businesses.
The former Formula One driver owns an indoor karting and recreation centre called Eddie Irvine Sports in Bangor, Co Down, a building company and a bar in Dublin.
Coronavirus has crippled businesses north and south of the border, with Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey recently warning that the pandemic was likely to trigger a recession "like a cardiac arrest".
Like so many business owners, Eddie was forced to furlough workers during the lockdown.
"For my sports centre, my house building company and my bar in Dublin, it's going to be a very tough and long road ahead," he said.
"We furloughed workers at Eddie Irvine Sports and we're now going to try and start to open up.
"Eddie Irvine Sports has never made any money - it's just something that I've done for the local town.
"I've been subsiding it for the last 15 years or so.
"I'll continue to subsidise it, but we're going to open up very tight and run it as efficiently as we can, with shorter hours. We'll try and gradually build it up."
Eddie, who was Michael Schumacher's driving partner at Ferrari during the late 1990s, made an estimated £45million from Formula One, reinventing himself as high-end property developer and speculator after retiring from the sport.
He said he had recently done "very well" by diversifying his business interests and investing money in gold.
His Miami-based house building company escaped the worst of the coronavirus because people flocked to the city after the outbreak of the pandemic.
Eddie thinks government around the world, but particularly the UK government, have handled the crisis and its economic impact disastrously.
"The UK government is just going to have to keep printing money and throwing it out there until the economy gets some traction, which could be a very, very long time," he said.
"The worst-hit countries - India, Brazil, America, the UK and Russia - haven't done a very good job.
"You would have to give Boris Johnson (above) a D (grade) and Trump a D-minus'... actually, you can't give Trump anything.
"Those guys just made an unadulterated mess (of things), playing with people's lives. They thought that it was a big joke, but it wasn't."