Five Irish Make Forbes Billionaire List

The cover of Forbes 2013 Worlds Richest Billionaires issue.

By Adam Farley, Editorial Assistant
December / January 2014

According to the annual Forbes Billionaires’ Circle list, which ranks in order the world’s most richest people, five of the 1,426 billionaires in the world are Irish.

The richest man in Ireland is the construction mogul Pallonji Mistry, ranked 103, with $10.5 billion. Formerly chairman of the India-based behemoth Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Mistry officially handed over the role to his eldest son, Shapoor, in June. His family is also the primary stake-holder in the $100 billion holding company Tata Sons.

Second in Ireland is Denis O’Brien, 2012 Irish America Business 100 Keynote Speaker (and a 2013 honoree) and founder of the telecom giant Digicel. Currently ranked number 233 in the world with a wealth estimated at $5.2 billion, O’Brien operates his Caribbean cell phone company with an ethic of 80 percent business, 20 percent philanthropy, Forbes says.

Though John Dorrance III holds Irish citizenship, making him the third richest in Ireland and number 613 in the world, the man behind the $2.4 billion fortune was born in the United States as the inheritor of the Campbell’s Soup dynasty. He became an Irish citizen in 1994, “presumably” according to Forbes, “to avoid paying capital gains taxes.”

Martin Naughton, founder of the electrical heating appliance company Glen Dimplex (and another Business 100 honoree), is ranked four in Ireland and 736 world-wide with $2 billion. A trustee emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, he gives annual scholarships to Irish students to attend college and was a significant force in bringing Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team to Dublin last year.

Rounding out the billionaire Irishmen is the financier Dermot Desmond with $1.8 billion, ranked 831, whose self-made fortune comes from the private equity firm International Investment & Underwriting he founded in 1994.

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