Gallagher (58) and his extended family now own 81pc of the shares in housebuilder Abbey. The stake is worth about €250m. The share price is up by about 9pc over the past year. Profits from Abbey and Matthew Homes, a UK builder they also own, add a further €40m to their wealth.
At the end of last October, Abbey had about €89m of cash in the bank, and had made a profit of €23m in the previous six months. Meanwhile, family-run building firm Matthew Homes had £97m in shareholders' funds and its last reported profit was £11.8m. Business is booming for builders in both Ireland and the UK, and both firms' land banks are likely to see them continuing to generate steady profits in the tens of millions.