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Rich List 2014: 50-99


Ben Dunne

Ben Dunne

LUXURY GOODS: Actress and heiress Danielle Ryan is worth €165m

LUXURY GOODS: Actress and heiress Danielle Ryan is worth €165m


Ben Dunne

The big earners - from 50 to 99

50 John King €222m

Pharmaceuticals, up €30m

Pharma whizz Dr John King netted around €30m last year when Warner Chilcott was taken over by US group Actavis in an $8.5bn deal.

It was the third time that King had made a killing in a company takeover. In 2004, he netted about €150m when selling his 7.7 per cent stake in Galen to Warner Chilcott, having already bagged a hefty sum when the company first floated and about €47m in a 2001 share sale.

51 The McMahon family €215m

Retail, down €20m

Sharon McMahon is the third generation to reach the top of the Dunnes Stores family dynasty. Along with brothers Brian, Paul and John, she inherited their mother Elizabeth's stake in the €1bn-plus retailer back in 1994.

Sharon is believed to have bought out some of her siblings' shares in the company.

52 The Moore Family €210m

Technology, down €30m

George Moore, who died last year, was a cloud computing and big data visionary.

Son of a Co Louth shoemaker, Moore was a serial entrepreneur. He sold his first company, NDS, for €80m in 1990, ploughing the proceeds into other ventures including Belleek Pottery in Fermanagh.

He started up software group Targusinfo, which he subsequently sold five years later for €507m. Moore is survived by wife Angela and three children, all based in the US.

53 John & Peter Queally €210m

Beef, down €20m

Waterford meat moguls Peter and John Queally set up Dawn Meats with partner Dan Browne in 1980. It is one of the largest privately owned agri-business groups in the land.

Back in 2006, Dawn Meats had sales of €912m but the firm has gone unlimited, so its finances are no longer public. It's likely to have grown strongly since then.

The Queallys' Arrow Food Group saw sales rise 13 per cent to €444m but margins are tight with pre-tax profits of €9m.

Other family assets include a sewage treatment firm, the Glenpatrick Spring water firm, five-a-side football pitches, pet foods, property developments and a chunk of the Lily O'Brien chocolate company.

54 Harold Montgomery €205m

Trucks, up €91m

Montgomery's Ballyvesey Holdings is one of the biggest articulated truck and trailer makers in Europe. Sales rocketed by more than €130m to €567m but profits almost halved to €6.4m. The company is sitting on net assets of €196m.

55 Liam Casey €200m

IT hardware, up €47m

If you want somebody to come up with an idea for a new iPod-type gadget, design it, build it and sell it, then Liam Casey is your man.

Casey, known as Ireland's 'Mr China', seems to have cracked how to get stuff done in Shenzhen, with his phenomenally fast-growing PCH International one of the most successful product development and supply chain management outfits on the block.

Corkman Casey owns about 34 per cent of PCH International, which has sales of well north of €600m.

The company has raised close to $50m from investors, with big-name venture capitalists Cross Creek and Triangle Peak Capital among the investors. PCH, which maintains a corporate headquarters in Cork, has been linked with an Asian IPO in the past but Casey seems to have gone cold on this. Valuations of the company are likely to have soared since 2012, when it was thought to be worth €450m.

56 Terry Clune €200m

Financial services, New entry

Kilkenny entrepreneur Terry Clune owns the enormously successful Taxback group, which could be worth anything up to €200m based on retained earnings.

While still at university, Wicklow-born Clune set up Taxback.com to help fellow students reclaim overpaid income tax from summer employment abroad. Taxback Group now employs 740 staff, with offices in 22 countries.

Clune is also a sort of one-man IDA, fronting the ConnectIreland scheme, which seeks to use personal contacts to bring jobs to Ireland.

57 The O'Reilly family €200m

Media and oil, down €320m

But for the collapse of Sean Quinn's empire, the vapourisation of the O'Reilly family fortune would have been the biggest non-property-related loss of wealth of recent years.

Corporate goliath Tony O'Reilly was Ireland's best-known businessman and a record Lions try scorer to boot. During the boom, his diverse assets were valued at well over €1bn. However, loading up on debt – lots of it – was a key part of his business strategy.

When the economic crisis hit, heavily leveraged firms were toast. Iconic crystal maker Waterford Wedgewood was shattered and shares in INM hit hard. O'Reilly's shareholdings in both these companies were the principal source of his wealth.

He retains a 25 per cent stake in Providence Resources, which suffered badly on the markets.

The extended O'Reilly family did very well from the $2.3bn buyout of Landis & Gyr. O'Reilly earned €130m in dividends from INM during the good times and owns properties in the Caribbean, Kildare, Cork, Deauville and Fitzwilliam Square. There's also a €60m Monet. But there is also quite a lot of debt, some owed to the former Anglo Irish Bank.

58 Bernard Murphy and family

€190m Construction, down €40m

Kildare's Bernard Murphy and his family inherited the bulk of UK building group J Murphy & Sons, when patriarch John Murphy died in 2011. He'd left Kerry in the Thirties and, after setting up as a building contractor, Murphy got work fixing up RAF bases that had been bombed. The firm expanded to become a major infrastructure builder.

Huge dividends have been paid out, including €30m in 2012.

59 Michael Chadwick €189m

DIY, up €73m

Michael Chadwick grew his family builder supplies and hardware business into a major player before handing over the reins to Gavin Slark two years ago.

Having been battered in the downturn, Grafton is now recovering strongly. The group's share price has stormed ahead over the last 12 months, rising close to 50 per cent on the London stock market.

Chadwick's 9.52 per cent stake is now worth over €171m. He's picked up over €14m in dividends in recent years. Chadwick is also an owner of the €18m marina in Dun Laoghaire and has property assets in Dublin. He is also a backer of Pochins, a listed UK civil engineering group.

60 Charles Gallagher & family €185m

House building, up €45m

Gallagher once stood in a general election for the Conservative party. It was in 1987 in the staunch Labour seat of Don Valley and it didn't end happily.

Fortunately, he had the family property business to fall back on. The extended Gallagher family own most of listed house builder Abbey Plc, which saw its share price soar last year. The family owns 72 per cent of the €230m-valued company. It also owns €60m-valued UK building group Matthew Homes. There'll have been some debt to build up the Abbey stake ahead of a failed takeover approach last year.

61 Stephen Vernon €185m

Property, up €10m

Vernon turned Green Property from a €24m-valued real estate wiener into a €1bn-plus supercharged beast. And then he took it private in 2004.

Vernon sold off most of the company's assets to pay down debt and was left with the rather valuable Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. After a near 10-year absence from high-profile deals, he's back.

Last August, Vernon and his team floated the Green REIT, a specialist investment vehicle designed to buy up properties around Dublin as a play on the Irish economic recovery. Vernon and management own 10 per cent of the Green REIT, which has also been backed by hedge fund legend John Paulson. The recovery in asset values has boosted Vernon's wealth considerably.

The motorcycle-riding property tycoon is also an excellent skier.

62 Philip Berber €180m

Technology, down €20m

Sandymount-born Philip Berber sold his electronic trading company Cybercorp to Charles Schwab right at the top of the first dotcom boom in 2000. The price tag was $488m.

Berber gave up work – and decided to give most of the money away, becoming a full-time philanthropist and social entrepreneur. His charity A Glimmer of hope, run with his wife Donna, has focused on improving the life of millions of people in Africa. Berber now lives in Austin, Texas.

63 Danny Hill €175m

Property, down €15m

Belfast-born Danny Hill left for Australia when still a teenager. He made big money in financial services and from the float of insurer AMP in the Seventies, before investing wisely in Australia's resources sector.

There were also large property developments on Australia's Gold Coast, as well as interests in Perth. Hill, 71, now lives in Monaco.

64 Lochlann Quinn €170m

Industry, up €12m

The relative bounce back in property values will have boosted ESB chairman Lochlann Quinn's wealth, as with partner Martin Naughton, he owns a large slice of the IFSC and the Merrion Hotel.

The former accountant helped build up Glen Dimplex into the world's largest heating appliance manufacturer before selling his 26 per cent stake to Naughton in 2004, in a deal likely to have netted him about €200m. Lochlann, a brother of education minister Ruairi Quinn, owns the highly rated Chateau Fieuzal vineyard in Bordeaux, which he bought for €38m in 2001.

65 Charlie Kenny €170m

Property, up €59m

Mayo property tycoon Charlie Kenny owns far more prime Dublin real estate than we thought. Back in 2004, before his companies went unlimited, they were sitting on assets of almost €420m. Kenny was said to be in the running to buy the Bank of Ireland headquarters, which was eventually bought by Larry Goodman for €35m two years ago.

Given his track record in calling the market, it would be no surprise that Kenny is quietly picking up prime assets around Dublin and other European cities. His Clancourt company and family office is also said to be looking at investing in the Irish start-up and technology sector.

66 Tommy Dreelan €170m

Oil services, New entry

Wexford man Dreelan and his brothers sold their oil services group Qserv to Norwegian firm Aker Solutions in 2008 for around €120m. They own the €100m Dreelan services business.

67 Danielle Ryan €165m

Inheritance, up €5m

Danielle Ryan and her brother Cillian inherited much of their father Cathal's Ryanair fortune when he died in 2007. The estate was worth €249m, with €35m given to charity.

Danielle was an accomplished actress appearing in the Tudors and Casualty, as well as helping bankroll the Lir Drama Academy, an acting school, with Saoirse Ronan. But now she's gone into capitalism in a big way, with the creation of a luxury goods firm, Roads, which will do everything from posh books and perfumes to art-house movie productions.

She moved to London following a €100,000 wedding to Mary Robinson's nephew, Richard Bourke, where they are renovating an 18th-century home. Her Irish home at Stackumny was sold for €4m. The family have other property assets in Chelsea, Tuscany and Mexico.

68 Pino & William Harris €160m

Trucks, down €7m

Robert 'Pino' Harris and his family are the kings of truck selling in Ireland. J Harris Assemblers sells new and used commercial vehicles including Hino, Isuzu and Iveco trucks in Ireland and the UK, as well as owning a New Zealand business.

The low-profile Harris empire is unlimited, which means it doesn't have to file accounts.

The Phibsborough man was one of the investors in the tax-driven €65m purchase and restoration of the Christina O. He won a €9m tax case against the Revenue relating to the yacht.

Harris is said to have made an absolute fortune from land deals in west Dublin in the early years of the boom. He's best known for a €3.5m deal to flip Carysfort College in the early Nineties.

69 Neil, Chris & Carey Taylor €160m

Consumer goods, up €10m

Dublin-based Neil and his siblings set up the Game chain of shops in 1990 to tap into the huge popularity of Sony PlayStations and other gaming consoles. At its peak it had 98 stores.

Taylor and his family netted about €40m when they floated the company and a further €24m when offloading their stake to Electronic Boutique in 1999. Brother Chris was the brains behind the phenomenally successful Polly Pocket girls' toy brand, which it licenced to Mattel. It generated over $200m a year at the peak of its popularity.

There are property, hotel and restaurant assets too. Neil is thought to own Nero, a truly massive super yacht, worth €67m.

70 Feargal Quinn €160m

Retail, up €9m

In business, as in poker, you have to know when to cash in. And Feargal Quinn played it brilliantly when selling off his Superquinn chain to the Bernard McNamara and a consortium of builders for €400m in 2005. The supermarket was about to struggle big time, with the arrival of Lidl and Aldi, combined with an increasingly aggressive Tesco. The developers struggled and Superquinn was eventually snaffled up by Musgraves for just €200m.

Quinn divvied up the money with his kids and they invested in a wide number of projects, ranging from providing mezzanine finance to builders to bankrolling an innovative LED light company. The Quinns ploughed money into Domhnall Slattery's Claret Capital, which invested in some mega deals.

However, there were quite a lot of dogs too. Property investments in the €160m Ardawn Developments and Woolgate UK office block consortium were hairy, to say the least.

Quinn also put money into failed eLearning group EMPG and the Johnny Ronan-fronted Treasury China Trust.

71 Frank Fahy €155m

Property, up €5m

Low-key property tycoon Frank Fahy was one of the few developers to escape the collapse of the market with plenty of money still in the bank. His Shannon Homes company was one of the biggest builders in an around Lucan and Sandyford.

Shannon Homes has re-entered the building market with gusto and is developing a major residential scheme in Balgriffin, north Dublin, with a whopping 55-acre park. His Shannon Homes was sitting on over €73m in cash, according to its latest accounts.

72 Tom Eakin & Family €154m

Healthcare, up €30m

Belfast pharmacist Tom Eakin and his family run the extraordinarily successful and high-margin specialist wound care business TG Eakin. It made profits of €21.8m last year, paying a €20.2m dividend windfall to the family, who have shared out almost €43m over the last four years.

73 The Keating family €152m

Food, up €7m

The low-profile Keating beef barons own the Meath-based Kepak Foods, one of the biggest meat and convenience foods operators in the country.

The company, which employs over 2,500 people between Ireland, Europe and South America, is believed to have revenues of €850m per year. As well as chopping up animals, Kepak is behind student snack "Big Al's" and other such delicacies.

Siblings Liam, Catriona, Stephen and Niamh own the company which was set up by their father Noel, a former butcher from the Liberties. The Keatings were named as investors in the boom-time €412m buyout of the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend.

74 The Sisk family €150m

Construction, down €55m

The Sisk group, which is owned by brothers John, Henry, George Sisk and their extended families, is one of the largest private companies in Ireland.

Set up in 1859, the group's interests include the John Sisk & Co construction arm, healthcare, property development and distribution of brands such as Bosch and Stihl. The core construction part of the group returned to profit last year, earning €14m. This followed a disastrous foray into Poland, which saw the firm rack up losses of €154m a year earlier, due to a major snafu related to a motorway project.

The Sisk family and shareholders chipped in €15m to the company last year as part of a new share issue.

75 Donal Tierney €150m

Animal healthcare, up €75m

Tierney's Bimeda animal healthcare firm is growing at a rate of knots, having bought up some of its rivals over the last year and expanded in the US and Europe. Pre-tax profits jumped to €13.6m off sales of nearly €143m.

The UK Vetpharm business had sales of €150m, with profits of €11.4m. There are retained profits of over €37m on the books.

It's clear that the Tierney family business is worth far, far more than previously thought. Shareholders received a dividend of €2.3m last year. The Tierney family owns commercial property assets too.

76 Denis Desmond €150m

Music promotion, down €15m

Desmond spent much of last year refinancing his concert and music promotion business MCD, after Bank of Scotland exited the market. It was a sign of the strength of the business that he was able to pay off some of the €60m loans and refinance others.

Desmond is by far the biggest promoter in the country, with his UK and festival business also massive. Desmond's Ronmall holding company was estimated to be worth €197m in 2010.

The Killiney-based impresario owns just under 50 per cent of UK concert promoter LN Gaiety, which reported a 7.2 per cent drop in sales to €146m. The number of admissions to its shows also dropped by 9.1 per cent as Britain's economy wobbled.

Desmond also owns a chunk of Festival Republic, which puts on shows such as Electric Picnic and the Leeds rock festival. It paid dividends of €11m over the last two years. Desmond's other assets include bits of Setanta sports and some radio stations.

77 Sir Marc Cochrane €149m

Property, up €2m

The family money comes from being the Cochrane part of Cantrell & Cochrane, Ireland's first fizzy drink-maker. It would later become Bulmers maker C&C.

Cochrane, made plenty of money as a banker in the City but really coined it in the boom when selling his 52-acre Bray estate to property developers for an estimated €152m.

78 Joe & Marie Donnelly €145m

Property, down €10m

Bookmaker turned property investor Joe Donnelly made big money in the Nineties and early part of the boom before shifting his focus to France and continental Europe.

Along with his wife Marie, Donnelly is one of the biggest art collectors in the country, with Picasso, Matisse, De Kooning and Georg Baselitz among their collection.

There's also a valuable portrait of Marie by Francesco Clemente. Art prices have risen sharply. The Paris-based couple own a landmark house on Dublin's Vico Road.

79 Ted Kelly €145m

Insurance, down €8m

Armagh's Ted Kelly earned a stonking €138m in just three years as chief executive of Liberty Mutual, the giant US insurance company that now owns Quinn Insurance.

The Queens University graduate, who also earned a PhD in maths from the world-famous MIT, stood down as chairman of Liberty last year, having overseen a threefold increase in revenues.

80 Kevin & Michael Lagan €145m

Concrete, down €7m

Brothers Kevin and Michael Lagan built up their cement, construction and quarrying business Lagan Holdings into one of the North's biggest companies with sales of €400m per year... and then they fell out spectacularly over succession plans.

Following a 2012 court case, ownership of the company was broken up with Kevin taking the cement and quarrying side of the empire and Michael running the construction operations.

Lagan Construction Group saw sales rise 23 per cent to €215m, with improved profits of €3.4m, sales in Lagan Homes on the other hand dipped more than 10 per cent to €38m.

81 John Corcoran €144m

Bookmaker, up €20m

Paddy Power co-founder John Corcoran has sold around €19m worth of shares in the bookie in recent years. He still has a 3.05 per cent stake worth €92m, although that has been trimmed slightly as the share price slipped in the last year.

Good dividends in the past have boosted the bank balance. We've upped Corcoran's wealth estimates because of his involvement in the property market. He was one of the key players in Stephen Vernon's Green property and is likely to have made a killing in the good times.

82 Bill McCabe €140m

Technology, up €6m

Belfast-turned-Foxrock tycoon Bill McCabe made an absolute killing out of software and e-learning in particular. He took Pat McDonagh's CBT onto the Nasdaq in 1995, seeing its value surge to $2.2bn, before he made his exit. McCabe netted at least €65m from share sales.

He's an extremely savvy technology investor, backing some of the country's hottest start-ups, including Datahug and Fieldaware. He is also a big shareholder in boob implant firm Global Aesthetics.

McCabe is also involved in Brian Long's Atlantic Bridge Ventures, which has raised €300m to back promising tech groups.

McCabe has also put money into property, with the LNC Group active in Germany, buying a vast retail centre in Bremen in 2006. It has also invested in the UK, Ireland, US, South Africa and Europe.

The business grew out of McCabe's €117m purchase of a mixed property portfolio from Scottish Life in 1999.

83 Chris Watson €140m

Bicycles, up €10m

The Watson family used to run a small bike shop in Antrim. But that was long before the internet.

Son Chris, 39, now runs the world's biggest online bike store, with Chain Reaction, selling everything that the increasing number of middle-aged men in lycra need to get road-worthy.

The breakneck pace of growth continues, with sales rising 14 per cent to €187m last year. However profits tumbled by 90 per cent to less than €900,000 as overheads soared. Some €3.6m in dividends were paid out.

84 Peter Sutherland €135m

Finance, up €15m

Even the Pope thinks that Peter Sutherland's advice is worth listening to. The Gonzaga- educated former attorney general has become one of the most influential Irish businessmen on the world stage and now advises the Vatican on its finances.

A former AIB chairman, Suds has also chaired BP. The big money has been made with Goldman Sachs, where he chairs its international division.

Sutherland has homes in Dublin, London and a vast pile in Spain. Goldman Sachs share price is up 25 per cent since last year.

85 Chris Rea €135m

Industry, down €15m

Belfast-born Chris Rea owns 60 per cent of Aes group, which is one of the world's biggest manufacturers of mechanical seals. Private equity group 3i took a 40 per cent stake in the business in 2007, valuing the Rotherham company at over €120m. The value will have spiked since then. While a dividend of €1.7m was paid, sales and profits dipped last year.

86 Colm O'Shea €130m

Hedge funds, down €31m

London hedge fund boss Colm O'Shea's family left Kerry for the UK, where he grew up to become a spectacularly successful trader.

Having worked with George Soros, O'Shea set up Comac Capital and made some fabulously profitable punts on the US economy and subprime loans blowing up. However last September, the hedge fund laid off one third of its staff as investors withdrew money from the firm's managed funds after two years of losses. Comac managed around €3.5bn worth of assets in September 2012. That had fallen to €1.6bn last September as a bearish stance on Europe failed to pay off. In the good times O'Shea was paid spectacularly, with a €41m package in 2011 and €31m last year.

87 The Stafford family €130m

Retail, down €14m

The Wexford merchant prince family seem to be getting a handle on Lifestyle Sports after some savage years of trading propelled the group into losses.

The family company, which also includes home heating oil and property, has been tidied up and bank facilities have been extended over the last year. There was another small property write off but there was also a return to profit, albeit small. Sales rose slightly to €342m. Things are moving in the right direction again but retail asset values have fallen. Most of the shares are still held by patriarch Victor Stafford, with son Mark running the show.

88 John Climax €129m

Pharmaceuticals, up €14m

Dr John Climax built up his Icon plc into one of the world's biggest clinical trial and research companies over 20 years. After stepping down from the Nasdaq-listed company in 2009, he sold €70m worth of shares but retains a stake worth €48m, following share price rises. He received two cars from the company as part of his retirement deal.

89 Gerry Barry €125m

Financial services, new entry

Former Fexco executive Gerry Barry and his family netted somewhere close to €120m when they sold their Galway based Fintrax financial transaction technology group to private equity group Exponent for €170m following a frantic bidding war. It was the biggest deal in the history of the Gaelthacht. Barry had set up the firm over 30 years ago.

90 Ray Nolan €125m

Technology, up €35m

Uber-shrewd technology investor Nolan netted close to €100m when selling youth hostel booking website Hostelworld.com to private equity group Hellman & Friedman in 2009. Along with partner Tom Kennedy, Nolan had built up the business into a €400m beast. It was Nolan's second big payday, having banked a few million from the sale of his Coretime group to Sage in 2004.

Nolan keeps hitting pay dirt, with a €1m investment in Skyscanner now worth €30m, and a small outlay to seed Mark Little's Storyful, netting over €7m following a buyout last December. The part-time rugby player and charity boxer is also involved in Ultimate Rugby with Brian O'Driscoll as well as eBay selling platform Xsellco, Smartbin and a number of other clever start-ups.

He also plans to float his new recruitment candidate trading platform Intalex, which he sees as a potential billion-dollar company.

91 Eddie O'Connor €125m

Renewables, down €160m

Frankly racy valuations of green energy firm Mainstream Renewables came back considerably over the last year, as Japanese group Maruweni spent €100m to buy a 25 per cent stake in Eddie O'Connor's business.

This valued the company at just €400m, down from the €500m-plus in the boom years. The former Bord na Mona boss has also seen his stake diluted down to 35 per cent as part of the deal. O'Connor's track record in the wind farm space is quite spectacular. He built up Airtricity into a serious player before selling out to SSE for €1.2bn in 2007. He bagged about €48m from the deal, which he used to set up Mainstream Renewable.

The company is well on its way to becoming the world's largest independent renewable energy firm, with huge projects planned or under way in Ireland, the UK, Chile and South Africa. O'Connor has enough to buy the much-desired vineyard, although, as he says himself, you'd need over €100m to get a good one.

92 Ken Rohan €125m

Property, down €10m

Ken Rohan’s property firm  Rohan Holdings has been astonishingly risk averse and is still in a pretty good position because he didn't lose his head in the boom. Most of the assets are industrial parks and office blocks around Dublin including ones in Tallaght, Santry and Ballyfermot as well as Berkshire in the UK.

Son Jamie, 38, runs the show. Latest accounts show net assets of €119m

93 Joe Sloane €120m

Consumer goods, down €14m

Sloane and his extended family own a 50 per cent stake of the vast Belfast-based SHS group, one of the biggest distributors of consumer good on the island.

The portfolio includes everything from Durex condoms and various alcopops, to the altogether healthier Jordan's muesli and Ryvita. Sales dropped €47m to €471m, with profits also taking a bashing as weak consumer demand hit.

94 Maureen Wheeler €120m

Travel guides, down €5m

Belfast-born Maureen Wheeler helped reinvent travel writing, launching the phenomenally successful Lonely Planet travel guides. BBC Worldwide spent over €121m buying out Wheeler and her husband Tony in 2007.

The Australia-based duo now work in philanthropy, with their foundation now supporting 60 projects to reduce poverty in developing countries, focusing on Southeast Asia, East Africa and Central America.

The Wheelers also endowed a chair in entrepreneurship at London Business School and have helped bankroll the costs of staging Wagner's Ring operatic extravaganza in Australia.

95 Joseph Brennan €120m

Bread, down €16m

Ireland's best-known loaf has made plenty of moolah for the Brennan family, ever since the first batch was baked off Fumbally Lane in Dublin 8.

The company is unlimited and so doesn't have to reveal financial details. Back in 2007, it made profits of over €4.1m off sales of €62m. The family also waded into prime real estate during the good times, owning blocks of central Dublin, including the office block at the Screen cinema near Hawkins street and the Drury street car park, as well as the Tiffany and Versace stores on London's Bond street. Joseph Brennan Bakeries is owned by two Isle of Man based companies

96 Brian Conlon €120m

Financial services, up €58m

Newry entrepreneur Conlon owns 40.7 per cent of AIM-listed €270m valued financial services group First Derivatives. Shares have rocketed over the last year, valuing his shares at over €110m.

The former Down footballer has also picked up close to €10m from previous share sales, dividends and other earnings.

97 Brenda Salters €120m

Consumer goods, down €14m

Salters and her family own 50 per cent of Belfast-based distributor SHS group, which was co-founded by her late husband Geoff. SHS was sitting on shareholders' funds of over €161m. Dividends of €7m were paid out.

98 Ben Dunne €115m

Gyms, down €15m

Dunne bagged around €90m for the sale of his stake in Dunnes Stores in the

mid-1990s. He reinvested some of the proceeds in commercial property, selling much of it before the market tanked.

He also owns seven gyms in Dublin and others in Manchester and Liverpool. About 50,000 people go to his gyms every week.

Dunne sold his €1m yacht when the downturn first hit.

"The biggest thing was the cost of keeping it and maintaining it," he said.

"I sold it, as I did my helicopter. These days I get around like everybody else in a car. Having money tied up in a boat is not for me," he added.

"If you have money you should use it to make more money."

99 Enya €115m

Music, up €5m

Dalkey based singer Enya has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide, which is more than the Spice Girls. The exceptionally private Castle-owning cat-lover has won four Grammys and has one Oscar nomination.

Irish Independent