It just goes to show that being rich doesn’t always equate to being famous.

The Sunday Times will publish their rich list this Sunday and from it we’ve picked out the top 20 richest folks in Northern Ireland. If it hadn’t been for the accompanying press release we wouldn’t have known any of them if we bumped into them on Royal Avenue.


The 20 Richest People In Northern Ireland

NI rank Name 2016 wealth Wealth +/- National rank
1 Lady Ballyedmond and family £1.4bn No change 75=
2 Mark Burnett and Roma Downey £375m No change 298=
3 Paul and Jeremy Eakin and family £310m No change 343=
4 John King £190m No change 557=
5 Danny Hill £183m Down £13m 575=
6 Robert Barnett and family £182m No change 577
7 Kevin and Michael Lagan £160m Down £16m 640=
8 Paddy McKillen £156m New 666=
9 Brian Conlon £127m Up £24m 796=
10 Chris Watson and family £126m Down £29m 798
11 Peter FitzGerald and family £125m Up £22m 799=
12 Chris Rea £120m Down £43m 831=
13 Harold Montgomery and family £115m Up £2m 862=
14= Michael Loughran and family £112m Up £10m 874
14= Tony and Maureen Wheeler £112m No change 874
16 Eoin McCann and family £110m New entry 885=
17= Raymond and Stephen Hutchinson and family £105m Up £3m 936=
17= Ted Kelly £105m No change 936=
17= Brenda Salters and family £105m Down £5m 936=
17= Joe Sloan and family £105m Down £5m 936=

Lady Ballyedmond and family top the Northern Ireland Rich List with a fortune of £1.4bn. The family’s wealth is based on the world’s leading veterinary pharmaceutical company, Norbrook Laboratories, based in Newry and formerly run and owned by Lord Ballyedmond, who died in a helicopter crash in 2014. Under his leadership profits hit £22.1m on £198.7m of sales in 2013-14. The business, valued at £1bn, is still owned by the family and led by Ballyedmond’s widow, 68-year-old Mary, Lady Ballyedmond. He left £344m in his will, which together with art, property and land keep the family at £1.4bn, the same value as last year.

In second place in Northern Ireland’s Rich List are Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, valued at £375m.

Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett are behind a new version of the biblical classic ‘Ben Hur’.

Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett

Hollywood impresario Mark Burnett, 55, is the president of MGM Television and Digital Group, while his Derry-born wife Downey, also 55, is to be the chief content officer of Lightworkers Media, the faith and family division of the company. The couple are behind the mini-series The Bible, in which Downey starred as Mary, and other faith-based programmes. MGM bought a 55% stake in their production company for $343m in 2014 and last December the Malibu-based couple exchanged their remaining holding for £83m of MGM shares.

Brothers Paul and Jeremy Eakin have made a £310m fortune largely from the manufacture of ostomy products, for the discharge of human body wastes.  Co Down-based T G Eakin was founded by their pharmacist father, Tom. Paul, 53, and Jeremy, 48, own the £300m company.

Belfast-born Paddy McKillen joins the Northern Ireland Rich List with a £156m fortune based on his worldwide commercial property portfolio. McKillen, who lives in south Dublin, was at the centre of a legal battle with twins Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay for control of Claridge’s hotel chain in London and sold his 36% stake last year for more than £624m, more than enough to clear debts.

The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List – the definitive guide to wealth in Britain and Ireland – is published on Sunday, April 24. The 148-page special edition of TheSunday Times Magazine is the biggest issue of the Rich List ever published since it first appeared in 1989. It charts the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK and the 250 richest in Ireland. The complete list will be available to all the paper’s digital members and will be fully-searchable online at

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