Ballyedmond family tops Times rich list for province

Lord Ballyedmond pictured with Mary, Lady Ballyedmond
Lord Ballyedmond pictured with Mary, Lady Ballyedmond

The family of the late pharmaceutical pioneer Lord Ballyedmond have once again topped the Northern Ireland divisioin of the Sunday Times Rich List 2016 published this weekend.

Hailed as the definitive guide to wealth in Britain and Ireland, the list names the top 20 wealthiest individuals and families in business in the province.

Lord Ballyedmond died in a helicopter crash at his English property in 2014, but the business he founded, Norbrook, remains to be one of the worlds leading veterinary pharmaceutical companies.

The business, valued at £1bn, is still owned by the family and led by Ballyedmond’s widow, 68-year-old Mary, Lady Ballyedmond and had put the familiy in first place on the kiest for the past three years.

In second place are Hollywood couple Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, valued at £375m.

Impresario 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.

Brothers Paul and Jeremy Eakin have made a £310m fortune chiefly from the manufacture of ostomy products for the healthcare sector.

The Comber based business was initially developed by the brothers’ pharmacist father Tom.

Belfast-born Paddy McKillen joins the list with a £156m fortune based on a global commercial property portfolio. He was at the centre of a legal battle 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.