By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The dot-com bomb has led to crashing fortunes with 12 high-tech millionaires falling out of this year’s Irish rich list and the share and property slump resulting from the economic downturn has led to a cut in the combined wealth of the super-rich.
For the first time since the Sunday Times began examining the affluent’s assets six years ago, their overall wealth fell — down by euro 284 million to euro 21 billion.
Bucking the trend is investment guru Dermot Desmond, who moves into the billionaire class to come in third behind Campbell soup heir John Dorrance, an American who bought an Irish passport, and industrial magnate Tony O’Reilly.
Thirty-one of Ireland’s super-rich also make it onto the list of the top 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain.
Dorrance had a fortune of euro 2.38 billion compared to O’Reilly’s euro 1.98 billion and Desmond’s euro 1.03 billion.
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Despite the airline travel fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks on America, Ryanair brought in the cash with Tony Ryan and his family coming in at No. 4 (euro 810 million) and the no-frills airline chief executive Micheal O’Leary is 14th (euro 429 million).
Among the biggest risers in this year’s list are the music and entertainment world beaters such as U2 (fifth with euro 663 million), “Feet of Flames” star Michael Flatley (11th with euro 403 million), Enya (53rd with euro 102 million), “Riverdance” duo Moya Doherty and John McColgan (78th with euro 66 million), Van Morrison (80th with euro 65 million), and Christ de Burgh (94th with euro 50 million).
Gambling and horses also paid off with legendary player on the tracks and currency markets J.P. McManus with euro 411 million up from 14 to eighth, John Magnier’s bloodstock empire worth euro 274 million bringing him up from 26th to 20th and Belfast bookmaker Leonard Steinberg with euro 113 million, moving up from 65th to 49th.
The Celtic Tiger spending boom also paid off for retailers and distributors such as the Dunnes, Heffernans and McMahons (Dunnes Stores), Feargal Quinn (Superquinn), the Musgraves (Supervalu), the O’Flahertys (Volkswagen) and the Maughans (Peugeot) reaping big rewards.
The meat trade brought big dividends for Larry Goodman, now Europe’s biggest beef baron, who went up from 75th to 34 place with euro 150 million.
Two newcomers to the list are from the landed gentry, the County Fermanagh-based Earl of Erne and the County Wicklow-based Earl of Meath, both 90th with euro 55 million.
The biggest casualty of the high-tech tumble was Brian Long, chief executive of the Parthus Technologies mobile phone microchip company, who dropped from 22nd to 66th with euro 85 million after the company’s shares fell 83 percent.
The software meltdown saw brothers Cyril and John McGuire failing to make the euro 48 million threshold this year after challenging for second place last year when their Trintech credit card security technology company was hitting the bigtime.