'Nothing was too much trouble' for a man who never forgot his neighbours
NOTORIOUSLY publicity-shy, Edward Haughey came from humble beginnings in Kilcurry and neighbours said this week that he never forgot his roots.
One friend of the late businessman, Una Casey from Kilcurry, recalled the Norbrook founder's generosity to her family over many years.
Mrs. Casey and her late husband Denis ran the Border Bar for many years when Mr. Haughey was growing up. His father died a couple of months before he was born and he had older twin sisters.
With no welfare state to speak of, Mr. Haughey's mother struggled to make ends meet, but managed to look after her family well. She later re-married a farmer.
Mrs. Casey remembers Mr. Haughey at primary school.
'His mother got it very hard after Eddie's father's death before he was born. My late husband Denis used to take him to Mass on the bar of his bike and often Edward didn't have any shoes,' she said.
After attending the CBS in Dundalk for a couple of years, Mr. Haughey emigrated to America where he became involved in the sales and marketing of veterinary products before returning to Ireland and setting up his own veterinary pharmaceutical business in 1968.
He married Mary Gordon Young – a barrister from Newry – in 1972, by whom he had two sons and a daughter.
As the business that became Norbrook Laboratories took off and he became fabulously wealthy, Mr. Haughey continued to stay in contact with those who had helped him through the tough times.
Over the years, he often brought Mrs. Casey and her family, along with a number of other neighbours, to his palatial home at Ballyedmond, near Kilkeel, where 'nothing was too much trouble'.
She said: 'He never forgot where he came from and when my husband raised the issue of the lack of community facilities in Kilcurry, Eddie met him in the Barleycorn pub and agreed to give a donation of £250,000.
'And we also got an invitation to the opening of the extension of Colaiste Ris, and Eddie said we could ride in the helicopter, but sadly Denis passed away just a few days before the opening in 1999'.
She said Mr. Haughey 'enjoyed talking about the old times, having the craic and singing and music with the neighbours from Kilcurry.
'When we were at Ballyedmond, he couldn't do enough for us. It was an amazing and beautiful place and we were looked after so well.
'His wife and children are lovely people and we were made fell very welcome'.
Mrs. Casey said: 'What he had he got the hard way and he worked very hard'.
She remembered the last time she saw him – in October at a neighbour's funeral.
'He passed me in the seat and grabbed my arm and said: 'Come on with me out here' and we had a good chat that day.
'I was really so shocked and saddened by the news of his death – he was a very straight man. He always sent us a Christmas card every year'.