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Ireland's richest restore fortunes to over €84bn

The restoration of the fortunes of Ireland's super-rich continues with gusto. After seeing their collective net worth hit by the double-whammy of crashing property prices and an unprecedented stock market collapse from 2007 onwards, the wealthy minority have seen their wealth levels improve again over the last year.

Ireland's 300 richest people are now worth €84.4bn, a record increase of €13.65bn. This is the biggest ever jump in collective wealth since the list started five years ago. In 2010, the total for the top 300 was just shy of €50bn.

The rich have got richer on the back of rising asset values. MSCI, the global index company, has revealed that returns from Irish commercial property in 2014 were double the level in the UK and among the highest in the world, with returns of 40.1pc in the year to January 2015.

Stock markets also shot up, with the Irish ISEQ up 15pc in 2014. London's FTSE was up around 7pc, with the Dow up 7.5pc in the year. Since then, the Bull Run has continued, with markets reaching all-time highs.

But it's not just their investments that have made the rich richer, their companies have also become more successful on the back of an improving economic landscape.

Technology, specialist engineering, biotech and manufacturing have all been extremely lucrative sectors for our Rich Listers, ranging from our latest billionaires the 20-something Collison brothers from Limerick to the hugely-successful heating tycoon Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex.

The Irish love affair with property has formed a large chunk of many fortunes, but it also comes with a big dollop of debt, so many property tycoons aren't on the list - yet.

We have used identifiable wealth for our calculations, based on the value of stock market shares listed in Dublin, London or New York, or stakes in private companies.

We have used the most recent sets of accounts from the Irish, UK and NI company offices. Private firms have been valued by multiple of earnings, shareholder funds and net asset values. Corporate finance experts - and in an increasing number of cases, the members of the Rich List themselves - have guided our rankings. However, financial digging can only uncover so much, and the size of the fortunes may actually be much bigger - or indeed, lower - than our estimates. But things change very fast for the rich as fortunes are made and lost.

Back in 2010, Tony O'Reilly was still considered to be a billionaire and Forbes magazine pegged Sean Quinn's wealth at €1.68bn. Neither is on the list. But not so long ago, one Rich Lister worked behind the counter serving chicken burgers at KFC. Now he has a €200m-plus fortune.

Sunday Independent