The contribution of Lord Ballyedmond to the economy and local job creation has been remembered in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Life peer and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Edward Haughey died along with three other men last Thursday when his helicopter crashed in Norfolk.
Mr Haughey was reported to be Northern Ireland’s richest men as chairman of Norbrook Laboratories – a multi- million pound business he developed having first sold veterinary medicines from the back of a van.
At Stormont yesterday, MLAs from all parties paid warm tributes to the businessman who created hundreds of jobs in Newry and beyond.
Jim Wells of the DUP praised Mr Haughey as “a man who was tremendously loyal to Northern Ireland and to south Down and Newry”. He said: “There were many attempts to try to lure his company out of Northern Ireland. Various inducements were made and rejected, and, throughout the entire time, he kept the bulk of his employment in Northern Ireland”.
Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy also paid tribute to the entrepreneur as “someone who created wealth and provided jobs, most especially in my constituency and, in particular, Newry”.
Health Minister Edwin Poots described him as “a very charitable man to causes that he saw to be worthwhile”, and who “encouraged others of means to support such causes”.
Lord Ballyedmond’s AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter came down in thick fog in a field near Beccles on Thursday. The crash also claimed the lives of Carl Dickerson, chief pilot at Haughey Air Ltd, and Lee Hoyle, his co-pilot, along with Mayobridge man Declan Small.
TUV leader Jim Allister said Mr Haughey’s death was a sad day “not only for the Newry area” but for “all Northern Ireland that such an industrial giant, home-grown in this Province, has been taken from us”.
John McCallister of NI21 praised Mr Haughey, saying: “He had a drive to build on peace and reconciliation and promote it wherever he could. I hope that that legacy, as well as that created by his business interests, will live on.”
SDLP South Down MLA Sean Rogers described Mr Haughey as “one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland” who “brought high-quality employment opportunities to this country during its darkest days”.
Phil Flanagan of Sinn Fein said: “He was a well respected and significant member of the local business community whose influence was felt right around the world.”
Cause of crash still a mystery
Air accident investigators are continuing to examine the wreckage of the Norbrook helicopter crash.
It has emerged that Haughey Air Ltd had lodged a writ against AgustaWestland last year over concerns about a helicopter it supplied – including the in-flight mapping systems. A spokesman for AgustaWestland said they could not comment on possible defects with the helicopter but were investigating.