Thursday 18 December 2014

UK peer returned home to earn his fortune in Troubles

Published 15/03/2014 | 02:30

Cormac Edward Haughey was Northern Ireland's richest businessman worth an estimated £860m (€1.03bn).

Originally from Kilcurry in Co Louth, he was raised by his mother after his father died shortly before his birth in 1944.

He was educated by the Christian Brothers in Dundalk.

When he was in his early teens, his mother remarried a wealthy farmer.

Mr Haughey emigrated to New York as a young man but returned to set up pharmaceutical company Norbrook Laboratories in 1969.

Based in Newry, the veterinary medicine manufacturer now has facilities in four continents, selling to 120 countries worldwide and employing 3,000 workers.

He married his wife Mary, a solicitor, in 1972 and they had two sons and a daughter.

In a 2001 interview, Mr Haughey revealed: "I find it difficult to work with other people. I don't know whether it's an insecurity on my part or whether I'm an autocrat or perhaps even a combination of both."

He was involved in a high-profile employment appeals case in 2003 in which his former housekeeper was awarded €10,500.

But the tribunal rejected her claims she had been bullied by Haughey.

His property interests were extensive, with country estates in Scotland and Co Down, a 240-acre farm in Louth and a Georgian house on Dublin's Fitzwilliam Square included in the portfolio.

He also owned the 1,000-acre country estate Corby Castle near Carlisle in Cumbria.

Mr Haughey was nominated to the Seanad in 1994 by Albert Reynolds and in 1997 by Bertie Ahern.

He was appointed as the first chairman of the Irish Aviation Authority in 1993.

In 2004, he was made a life peer as Baron Ballyedmond, of Mourne in the County of Down, and sat in Britain's House of Lords on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party.

He was the first person to have served in both the Seanad and the British upper house.

Mr Haughey had been a strong supporter of the British Conservative Party, donating several million pounds over many years.

He was also the recipient of an OBE.

In August 2006, an attempt was made to bomb a home he was building near Hackballscross in Co Louth.

It was blamed on dissident republicans.

Irish Independent

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