NI’s own Elon Musk is among the Ulster names on UK’s top 250 richest league table

From flying vehicles to ejector seats, a number of tycoons with Ulster ties have appeared in the latest edition of The Sunday Times’ Rich List.

By Adam Kula
Friday, 20th May 2022, 5:16 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2022, 8:00 pm

The league table of the UK’s 250 wealthiest people was published online on Friday, and several of those making the cut are either Northern Irish or have ties to the Province – though they are far from household names.

The richest of them all appears to be Stephen Fitzpatrick at position 132 (up from 233 a year earlier).

Whilst his name may not ring bells, he is something of a Northern Irish Elon Musk, with business interests spanning nine different companies, and with a keen eye on cutting edge transport tech.

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Stephen Fitzpatrick

He reportedly used to attend Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, a grammar school in east Belfast.

Perhaps the main two businesses he runs are Ovo Energy and Vertical Aerospace, both based in Bristol, south-west England.

The first business touts itself as a green energy supplier, focussing on offering renewable-powered electricity to consumers.

It has suffered of late, reportedly making some 1,700 employees – a quarter of its staff – redundant this year.

Promotional image from Vertical's website of a VX4

Meanwhile Vertical Aerospace produces futuristic-looking aircraft which are a kind of a cross between a car, a drone, and a helicopter.

The craft it is currently focussed on is called the VX4.

Here is how the firm describes it: “With speeds over 200mph, near silent when in flight, zero emissions and low cost per passenger mile, the VX4 is going to open up urban air mobility to a whole range of passengers and transform how we travel.”

His company website goes on to add: “In 2021 the company announced conditional pre-orders for 1,350 aircraft from American Airlines, Avolon, Virgin Atlantic, Marubeni Corp, Iberojet and Bristow Group for an estimated $5.4bn.”

As a measure of why he feels the craft will be so successful, his company offers the following comparison.

Taking a car from Heathrow, west London, to Canary Wharf in the east, is a 24-mile, 82 minute drive.

Taking a VX4 turns it into a 19 mile, 13 minute journey.

Oh, and in addition to all that, he is the former owner of the F1 team Manor Racing.

The Rich List cites his worth as being £1.34bn (up £665m on the year before).

He is 44.

Other names on the list are James and John Martin and family, ranked 171, up from 212, whose collective worth is valued at £1.029bn (up by £255m on a year before).

James Martin of Co Down is now deceased, but the company he founded, Martin-Baker, lives on in Middlesex. He basically invented the modern ejector seat and as of today, the firm claims a total of 7,674 lives saved.

Others are Freddie Linnett and the Murphy family at 220, previously 218) (worth: £744m, up£3m). Mrs Linnett inherited a huge stake in the property portfolio built up by her uncles, Hugh and Paddy Murphy of Armagh.

Martin Naughton and family appears on the list at 208, previously 191 (worth: £800m, down £58m); he founded Glen Electric in Newry, which has gone on to become a major multinational maker of electric fires, showers and cookers.

Lady Ballyedmond and family sit at 144, down from 135 (worth unchanged at £1.247bn). She was married to Lord Ballyedmond, founder of Newry animal pharma firm Norbrook.