MOST of us are getting poorer but Ireland's five-strong billionaires' club saw its collective wealth soar by $1.7bn (€1.29bn) over the last 12 months, according to 'Forbes Magazine'.
Mobile phone mogul Denis O'Brien; Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton; financier Dermot Desmond; construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry and soup heir John Dorance are now worth a collective €20.6bn, compared to €18.9bn this time last year, according to the magazine's annual list.
No Irish names joined or left the global list this year. Sean Quinn joined it in 2010 but was removed in 2011 as his empire crumbled.
The country's richest man is construction tycoon Pallonji Mistry (82), who is an Irish citizen through his wife. Mr Mistry, whose wealth is tied up in the Tata conglomerate which owns everything from Jaguar cars to Tetley tea, lives in Bombay, according to 'Forbes'. It calculates that his fortune has risen to $9.7bn from $8.8bn last year.
Mr Mistry is followed by telecoms and media magnate Denis O'Brien (53), whose wealth is put at €5bn -- an increase of €800m from last year.
Next up is Campbells soup heir John Dorrance (68), who lives quietly in south Dublin and has a fortune worth $2.4bn.
Rounding off the list of Irish billionaires is Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton (72), whose electrical-appliances company has generated a €2bn fortune (or €100m more than 2011) and financier Dermot Desmond, who is reported to be worth €1.5bn -- down from €1.6bn in 2011.
Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim retained his position at the top of the list with an estimated worth of $69bn, placing him ahead of Bill Gates at $61bn and Warren Buffett at $44bn.
Mr Slim (72) has taken the top spot for three years in a row.
The United States again led the list with 425 billionaires. Russia overtook mainland China for the number-two spot, with 96 billionaires, compared with mainland China's 95. Moscow led all cities with 78 billionaires, followed by New York at 58 and London at 39.
This year's list included a record 1,226 entrants with average fortunes of $3.7bn.
Mr Slim made money in telecommunications but has expanded into retail, finance, commodities and energy.
In recent years he has taken larger stakes abroad, owning parts of department store operator Saks Inc, publisher New York Times and money manager BlackRock.
Mr Gates narrowed the gap with Mr Slim this year after the latter's estimated net worth fell from $74bn to $69bn. 'Forbes' estimated that Mr Gates's net worth rose from $56bn to $61bn.