Monday 19 November 2018


1. Sean Quinn

€3.50bn (No change)

Quinn, who started with a single quarry on his father's Fermanagh farm, has easily retained his position at the top of the rich list.

The Cavan-based billionaire, 61, now heads the largest and most profitable private company in Ireland. Quinn Direct insurance, Ireland's second biggest health insurance provider, Quinn Healthcare, and a string of hotels including the Slieve Russell in Cavan, form part of his empire. Quinn also owns the Iveagh Fitness Club in Dublin, several bars, the Belfry golf course, as well as a $24m private jet and a helicopter. Quinn left school at 15 and at the age of 26 realised the family's 23-acre dairy farm in Derrylin was sitting on huge reserves of sand, gravel and shale. Other assets now include hotels and properties in eastern Europe and a five per cent stake in Anglo Irish Bank. The bank's falling share price has cost the family about €300m on paper. With the downturn the Quinn Group will find it hard to maintain the rapid profit growth it has achieved in recent years. It announced last week that it is to suspend a €300m project in Germany for at least a year. Quinn attributed his initial success to GAA contacts. Ireland's richest man, who is said to enjoy poker, never staking more than 50c, lives in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan. Three of his five children work at Quinn. He is said to be the 164th richest person on the planet.

2. Sir Anthony & Lady O'Reilly

€2.75bn (Up one)

O'Reilly bought Independent News & Media in 1973 and is the company's Chief Executive. INM publishes over 200 titles worldwide.

O'Reilly's bloodstock and cattle breeding holding at Castlemartin, Co Kildare, is also a major asset. His wife, Chryss, a Greek shipping heiress, has assets worth €900m. O'Reilly joined An Bord Bainne in 1962 as general manager, where he developed the Kerrygold brand. He later became chairman of HJ Heinz, succeeding HJ Heinz II. O'Reilly made his international rugby debut aged 18 against France. His try-scoring record set during the 1955 and 1959 Lions tours has not been equalled.

3. Denis O'Brien

€2.15bn (Up one)

O'Brien's cash resources are unrivalled thanks to the sale of Esat and his €615m profit from last year's refinancing of Digicel.

He is a majority shareholder in two Irish radio stations and owns a sizable stake in Independent News & Media. He bought the Quinta do Lago golf resort in Portugal, where Alan Shearer, Cliff Richard and Chris Evans have homes. His love of sport extends to giving the Irish cricket team over €100,000 for reaching the Super Eight stage of the world cup and paying half of the salary of Giovanni Trapattoni, the new Ireland soccer manager.

4. Dermot Desmond

€2.10 bn (Down two)

Desmond sold NCB stockbrokers in 1994 for €30m and started his own private equity firm, International Investment & Underwriting.

A year later, he acquired London City Airport. Development of the airport coupled with its proximity to the 2012 London Olympics site enabled him to sell it in 2006 to a US consortium for £1.1bn -- 30 times what he paid in 1995. The tax exile, who lives in Gibraltar, made €16m from the sale of Manchester United and retains a €4m stake in Celtic. The 57-year-old owns a third of the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados.

5. Kevin & Michael Lagan

€1.3bn (Up 32)

Low-profile, even by the standards of Northern Irish businessmen, the Lagan brothers own Lagan Holdings, a civil engineering group, with combined turnover of almost €500m -- an increase of 150 per cent in five years. Profits last year were over €50m.

The group has expanded into Asia and the Caribbean and closer to home it is involved in a water mains project on the Isle of Man. Kevin is a director of UTV. The brothers' worth has been revised upwards to take account of the group's expansion and the property price rise in Northern Ireland.

6. Anne & Tom Roche & Family

€1.15bn (Up two)

Anne is the daughter of the hotelier PV Doyle, while Tom's father once headed building materials group CRH.

The family owned the controlling stake in NTR (formerly National Toll Roads) which was sold last year for €600m. That sale propelled the Roches into the Rich List top 10. That position was consolidated six month later when the reorganisation of Jury's Doyle Hotels made the couple billionaires. The couple gave their daughter Michelle €14m worth of Jury's shares for her 30th birthday in August 2005.

7. John Magnier

€1.1bn (Down one)

Magnier owns stud farms in Ireland, America and Australia and homes in Barbados (officially called Laughing Waters, but known as 'Gatwick' because of its palatial size) and Switzerland. Much of Magnier's interests are controlled offshore, he is a tax resident of Switzerland, and his wealth is difficult to estimate. He shared €160m with JP McManus and Dermot Desmond when Barchester Healthcare was revalued at €1.27bn. Earlier this month Magnier emerged as a backer of the €65m purchase of Dorset Cereals, the muesli which is now rivalling Alpen.

8. Martin Naughton

€1.05bn (Up three)

Naughton, 68, chairs and owns Glen Dimplex, the world's biggest maker of electric heaters, which is behind such household appliance names as Morphy Richards, Dimplex and Roberts Radio.

After expansion into China, the company has made recent UK and Japanese acquisitions. Profits in the Northern Irish division alone, which accounts for about a third of the group, have doubled. Naughton has invested heavily in green energy and is part of a group which has applied to build an offshore wind farm off Dundalk Bay. He also has a large stake in the Merrion Hotel, something he describes as a "fun investment".

9. Ryan Family

€1.03bn (Down four)

Tony Ryan, who co-founded Ryanair in 1985, died in October of cancer, aged 71. His son Cathal died in December.

Married and separated while still in his 20s, Cathal then dated Michelle Rocca, a former Miss Ireland. As well as a significant stake in Ryanair and a low-cost Mexican airline, the family owns stud farms in Kentucky and Swordlestown, Co Kildare. The Ryans move down the list due to a fall in the value of Ryanair shares and uncertainty about how Tony Ryan's assets are to be divided.


€1BN (UP 24)

Carroll is responsible for much of Dublin's low-cost apartment development. His own home is a relatively modest Mount Merrion semi. Carroll is embroiled in a planning battle to build a 20-storey tower and €290m apartment and office development near the U2 Tower. Zelderbridge, the firm he owns with wife Roisin, is valued at over €750m. He bought €35m worth of shares in Aer Lingus.

11. Frank Dunne

€980m (Down two)

Dunne, 64, is the largest shareholder in Dunnes Stores, which has over 160 outlets in Ireland, Britain and Spain.

Dunnes do not publish accounts in the Republic, but the value of its assets has risen sharply in recent years. Dunnes lost a High Court action in December taken by Mosaic Fashions, parent company of British clothes retailer Karen Millen, which claimed that the Irish firm had copied its designs.

12. U2

€900m (Down five)

Still rated as one of the top-earning touring acts, the band has begun to divide its many operations between the members' respective families. See Entertainers.

13. Sean Mulryan

€820m (Up 13)

Mulryan, 53, a former Roscommon stonemason, owns Ballymore Properties, which is responsible for a massive urban regeneration programme in London's docklands. But it is his ownership of land close to the 2012 Olympics site that has seen his worth triple.

Ballymore made a €10m loss last year, but the value of the company's assets help ensure Mulryan is one of the 20 richest Irish men alive.

14. JP McManus

€800m (Down three)

McManus, 57, made his money from gambling on the Geneva forex markets where he accrued €370m. McManus, based in Geneva, shared in a €125m profit made from the sale of Cubic Expression's stake in Man Utd.

He is also one of the world's top racehorse owners, counting Istabraq, a three-time winner of the Champion Hurdle, among his more famous horses. His sporting passion includes golf and he counts Tiger Woods as a friend.



Ed Haughey, 64, owns Newry-based animal drugs firm Norbrook, which has just announced a €120m expansion plan. He was given a seat in the Senate by Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern. In 2004 he became a peer.

Haughey has made donations totalling over£1m to the Conservative Party. Haughey owns two castles, one in Rostrevor, Co Down, and the other in Cumbria, commuting between them in a helicopter.

16. Margaret Heffernan

€700m (Down four)

Though the 66-year-old textile director shows no sign of relinquishing her tight grip on the Dunne dynasty, she is thought to be grooming one of her four children, Anne, to head the third generation at the family business. She has given away a fifth of her shares, worth €114m, most likely to her children. Dunnes posted a €47m profit for its UK and Spanish operations, down two per cent on the previous year.

17. Johnny Ronan & Richard Barrett

€620m (Up seven)

Ronan, 54, jointly owns the Dublin-based Treasury Holdings Group with Barrett, 55. In 2006 Treasury bought a 60 per cent stake in the €595m Battersea power station, the London landmark.

The founder of Japanese food chain Yo! Sushi, Simon Woodroffe, is in talks with Treasury to build a €13m spa on top of the disused power station.The company has made major inroads in the Russian and Chinese markets.

18. Michael Smurfit

€600m (Down one)

Smurfit netted €241m when he sold his cardboard box company to Chicago-based Madison Dearborn partners. With the sale, however, he relinquished a 500-piece corporate art collection valued at €100m and was forced to buy back part of the K Club to host the Ryder Cup in 2006.

Hosting the cup left the K Club with €4.1m losses, compared to a €4.7m profit the previous year. The tax exile, 71, who is Ireland's honourary consul in Monaco, has €350m in other assets.

19. Michael Flatley

€590m (Down six)

The superhoofer is still bringing in more than enough money to cover the insurance premium for his legs. (See Entertainers)

20. O'Flaherty Family

€537m (No change)

O'Flaherty Holdings, with an annual turnover of €1bn is one of Ireland's wealthiest private companies. At one point it owned the Irish Audi, Mazda, Mercedes, Skoda and Volkswagen franchises.

The O'Flaherty brothers' late father Stephen was the pioneer of car distribution in Ireland. The family lost Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen from its stable in October. It is estimated that the O'Flaherty brothers made €75m from selling back the VW rights.

21. John & Bernie Gallagher

€510m (Up 26)

Bernie, 47, and her two sisters are thought to have made €950m when they sold the budget part of their late father PV Doyle's hotel group to Sean Dunne. They retain control of 14 premium hotels. Gallagher, also 47, made €55m in 2006 selling his stake in NTR.

22. McMahon Family

€475m (Down three)

Grandchildren of the Dunnes founder, Ben Snr, Sharon, 37, Brian, 35, Paul, 33, and Sean, 28, inherited their mother Elizabeth's stake in 1993.


€460M (UP SIX)

O'Hare, 50, from Co Down, owns several shopping centres across Ireland, including the Quays in Newry. Last year Parker Green International, which O'Hare chairs, increased its US holdings with two acquisitions worth $250m (€160m).

He says being wealthy can be lonely: "It can be lonely at times being successful, because people think you are a different person than you used to be."

24. Sisk Family

€455m (Up one)

Brothers George, Henry and John are the fourth generation to run Sisk and Son, Ireland's biggest building contractor.

The company was the main contractor in the recent construction of Dun Laoghaire marina, adjacent to the Royal Irish Yacht Club from where George sails his €350,000 yacht, Wow! The firm's UK division has expressed interest in developing the 2012 Olympic village in London. Profits continue to rise.


€452m (DOWN 10)

Now the largest individual Ryanair shareholder, O'Leary claims he will quit Ryanair in the next 18 months.

The value of his shares has fallen dramatically in the past 12 months, and shows no sign of immediate recovery after Ryanair announced that rising fuel prices, falling consumer confidence and weak sterling meant the airline's forecast profits would halve to €235m.

He has invested in London commercial property, his Westmeath estate and his prize cattle. The 47-year-old owns horses including War of Attrition which won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Hear the Echo, which won the Irish Grand National.



Morrison, 56, who is based in Ballymena, owns Corbo, a company specialising in property management including retail parks and multi-storey car parks. Corbo is worth £350m (€450m). Morrison is this year's highest new entry.

27. Sir Allen McClay

€434m (Down four)

Philanthropist McClay, 77, raised over €300m selling shares in Galen Holdings, the female contraceptive and HRT drugs company, between 1997 and 2004.

He later bought back parts of the company and now heads Almac, a Craigavon-based biotech and pharmaceutical company. McClay has no intention of retiring: "I don't like caviar and champagne gives me flatulence. I don't like sailing in boats. I do play golf but if I retired I would get on a bar stool and shorten my life."

28. Larry Goodman

€420m (Down seven)

The beef baron saw his group going into receivership in the early 1990s, owing €600m to the banks, before rebuilding it to become the largest meat processor in the British Isles.

His company has just returned to profit. Saddam Hussein reneged on payments for beef, but Goodman was able to claim back $73m from the Iraqi government. The 72-year-old has invested in property, as well as buying a jet and helicopter.

29. Jim Mansfield

€415m (Down seven)

The Citywest hotel owner, who left school at 14, has commenced the development of a €90m conference centre on the hotel site. Its completion will depend on the outcome of a planning appeal.

30. Eugene & Brendan Murtagh

€405m (Down 16)

Building materials giant Kingspan's London-quoted shares have halved in value in the last year, pushing the brothers outside the top 20.

31. Patrick Doherty

€400m (Down 5)

Donegal man Doherty, 66, is behind the €1.5bn redevelopment of the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where the Titanic was built. Last year he acquired the former headquarters in London of the Conservative Party in a €46m deal.

32. Barry O'Callaghan

€360m (No change)

O'Callaghan, 38, a former financier, owns a third of Education Media & Publishing Group (EMPG), formerly known as Riverdeep. According to Davy stockbrokers, O'Callaghan's recent €2.7bn deal to add Reed Elsevier's Harcourt US education business to his publishing empire could result in the value of his personal stake soaring to €1.5bn. Although seriously minted, he must concentrate on EMPG's massive debts.

33. Peter Sutherland

€350m (Up nine)

Sutherland is chairman of Goldman Sachs International and the oil giant BP.

He has seen the payment for his part-time job at BP rise 20 per cent to €770,000. Sutherland, has also been appointed chair of the London School of Economics Council.

He is financial adviser to the Pope. He admits to just two regrets: one is that he never played rugby for Ireland and the other is not (yet) having been president of the European Commission.

34. Ben Dunne

€330m (Down 4)

Dunne, 59, is the least media-shy of the Dunne dynasty. He was kidnapped by the IRA and later arrested in the US for drug use before being ousted from the family firm. He received €110m in 1996 for his stake in Dunnes Stores after his siblings deposed him as joint MD. He is proving his business acumen with the development of a fitness chain.

35. Feargal Quinn & Family

€325m (Up eight)

The Senator, 71, and his family made €210m three years ago when they sold the 19-store Superquinn chain which began 46 years ago with a shop in Dundalk. Quinn has invested in Channel 6. We have upgraded his wealth.

36. Charles Gallagher

€320m (Down eight)

Gallagher, 48, chairs the Abbey house building group. Gallagher Holdings, the Irish and London quoted house builder has increased its stake in Abbey to 41 per cent, although Gallagher insists he will not take it private. The group's profits are down 19 per cent.

37. The Jennings Family

€310m (Up 16)

Brothers Shamus and Francis are seeking to focus on the hotel and urban regeneration sectors. Their engineering firm, Rotary Group, was sold last month for £100m (€128m) to the Australian-quoted Hastie Group. Last week, the family sold the Cromwell Hospital in London for £90m (€115m). They will also forge ahead with Culzean Holdings, formed to develop hotels such as Marriott and Ramada throughout Ireland.

38. Anne Dunne

€308m (Down seven)

Daughter of Dunnes founder, she may have been bought out five years ago. If so, that deal alone would have been worth €230m.

39. Gemma Maughan & Family

€305m (Up 28)

Maughan, 67, has a holding in Ireland's Citroen and Peugeot franchise owner, Convest, which has posted a modest rise in profits. The parent company, Gowan, bought Senator Windows in 2006 for an undisclosed sum. Maughan is a prominent collector of Irish art.

40. Harvey McGrath

€303m (Up 12)

Belfast-born McGrath, 56, retired in September as chairman of Man Group, the quoted hedge fund group. Educated at Methodist College Belfast, he chairs the business group London First and works closely with the city's mayor, Ken Livingstone. The Guardian named McGrath as the 44th most influential unelected person in Britain.

41. Pat McDonagh

€300m (Down 23)

The former teacher, 56, sold his third of the Dublin-based e-learning firm Riverdeep for €65m in 2006.

42. John King

€290m (Down 7)

An academic, 59, who along with Allen McClay and Galen, developed female contraceptives. He is non-executive director of Warner Chilcott, which moved into profit last year after a period of losses.

43. Lochlann Quinn

€285m (Down 10)

Quinn, former chairman of AIB, has just been appointed chairman of ESB. He sold his quarter-share in Glen Dimplex for an estimated €160m and was part of the Irish consortium which bought the Savoy hotel group for €1.1bn.

44. Michael Herbert

€277m (Up 16)

Herbert, 49, is the owner of Europe's largest Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Belfast. He has other property investments, with several buildings in Belfast named in honour of his wife, Lesley. He boasts a Rolls Royce, Ferrari and Range Rover in his drive.

45. John Byrne

€273m (Down one)

Byrne, 87, is best-known for developing the unsightly O'Connell Bridge House in Dublin in the mid-Sixties. He owns property worth €90m through Carlisle Trust in the Cayman Islands, although Byrne and the Ansbacher inspectors could not agree on what precisely the property developer owned.

46. Joe Sloan

€270m (Down eight)

Sloan, 61, and his family own half of the SHS group, the Antrim food and drinks manufacturer which produces WKD and Woody's alcopops. The group had a turnover of £375m (€480m) in 2006.

47. Geoffrey Salters

€269m (Down eight)

Salters, 61, and his family own the other half of SHS.

48. Eddie Irvine

€245m (Down 12)

The weakening dollar has hurt the former Ferrari driver, but the Ulsterman is a shrewd investor. (See Sport Stars)

49. Joe O'Reilly & Liam Maye

€230m (Up three)

The Longford duo run Castlethorn Construction, which built the Dundrum Town Centre, Ireland's biggest shopping centre. Some of the centre's shops boast world sales records for their owners.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News