Business Irish

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Edward Haughey or Lord Ballyedmond: who was he?

Dr. Edward Haughey, Chief Executive Officer and chairman of Norbrook Laborities in Newry Co. Down.
Picture Davide Conachy
Dr. Edward Haughey, Chief Executive Officer and chairman of Norbrook Laborities in Newry Co. Down. Picture Davide Conachy

Alice Philippson

Lord Ballyedmond was one of Northern Ireland’s richest men who built a hugely successful veterinary pharmaceuticals company that went on to become one of the major players in the industry.

As chairman and founder of Norbrook Laboratories in Newry, County Down, Lord Ballyedmond employed nearly 1,700 people in Northern Ireland.

His fortune was estimated at more than £600m and he had a series of luxury homes including a Belgravia town house and a Cumbrian castle.

Lord Ballyedmond, 70, also owned land in Uganda and several islands in Lake Victoria.

Born in Kilcurry, north of Dundalk, County Louth, in 1944, he attended the Christian Brothers in Dundalk.

Embarking on an early career in pharmaceutical sales he built his company into a key player in veterinary medicine.

In 2008, he was made an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Ulster, in recognition of his contribution to the international pharmaceutical industry.

But his interests extended beyond pharmaceuticals. The peer once owned Carlisle Airport and began an air travel business, Haughey Air Ltd, which also owned a helicopter charter company.

The Haughey family also owned Gillingham Hall, a stately home close to the site of the helicopter crash. The house dates back to the 17th century, is set in 55 acres of grounds and is known to have a helipad.

The Gillingham estate was founded by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper to the Queens Great Seal in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

The present house was built by his son, the first baronet of Gillingham, in the early 1600s.

Dr Haughey's family trust is thought to have purchased the hall after it was put on the market in 2005 for £2.25m.

 In 2004, Edward Haughey was made a life peer as Baron Ballyedmond of Mourne in County Down and sat in the House of Lords on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party, before switching to the Conservative Party.

He was appointed to the Senate in the nineties by Albert Reynolds and then by Bertie Ahern.

He was a member of the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation and the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body. He also served as an honorary consul to the Republic of Chile.

He leaves his wife, two sons and a daughter.

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