Born: January 5, 1944; Died: March 13, 2014
Loading article content
Lord Ballyedmond, who died in a helicopter crash aged 70, was an entrepreneur and politician who was believed to be the richest men in Northern Ireland. He was chairman of Norbrook, the largest privately-owned pharmaceutical company in the world and was one of the few people to have sat in the upper houses of both the Irish Republic and the UK.
He was born Edward Haughey in Dundalk, Co Louth, into a Catholic family and grew up on the family farm. After leaving school, he emigrated to the United States where he began his pharmaceutical career in New York in the 1960s selling animal drugs.
In 1968, he returned to Newry in Co Down to set up his own business and founded Norbrook. At first, the company imported veterinary products from Europe and relabelled them but the young entrepreneur then invested in research and development and expanded the company. It proved to be a highly innovative business and increased its margins by making many of the raw ingredients used in its medicines.
He then expanded into Africa, notably in research into HIV and Aids, and was one of the largest veterinarian suppliers on the continent.
Two of his companies, Norbrook Laboratories and Norbrook Holdings, employ 1300 people worldwide, 1000 of them in Northern Ireland. Then company was awarded the Queen's Award for Export Achievement four times and the Queen's Award for Enterprise.
He also owned an air travel business, and at one stage the lease of Carlisle Airport in Cumbria, which he sold in 2008.
He was appointed to the Seanad, the upper house in Ireland, in 1993 and remained there until 2004 when the Ulster Unionists nominated him for the House of Lords.
He served there as a life peer, first on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party before switching to the Conservative Party.
Apart from Northern Ireland and London, he had a house in Dublin's expensive Fitzwilliam Square, close to the city centre, owned two islands on Lake Victoria in Uganda and was a collector of rare plants and trees. He owned the stately home Gillingham Hall, Ballyedmond Castle in Rosstrevor, Co Down, and Corby Castle in Cumbria, as well as a property in Belgrave Square, London. His wealth was estimated to be in excess of £400million.
In July 2008, he was made an honorary doctor of science by the University of Ulster.
He was killed along with three other people when his helicopter came down in thick fog in a field in Gillingham, near Beccles, Norfolk, and is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.