Despite years of austerity Ireland’s wealthy elite have got even richer in the last decade.

The combined fortune of Ireland’s 300 richest people has jumped to €79 billon this year, up from last year’s €77bn, it emerged yesterday.

The minimum wealth needed to qualify for this year’s top 300 was €52 million.

The richest 250 people across the island of Ireland are now worth a record €76bn.

After the financial crash in 2010 the fortunes of the top 250 fell to €39.26bn, the Sunday Times Rich List reveals.

Sunday Times spokesman Colm Murphy said: “You need more money than ever to be numbered among the richest 300 in the country, we have more euro billionaires than ever and the wealth of the richest 300 stands at a record level.

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“It all adds up to a bumper year for the Irish titans of technology and construction, and the stars from film, television and the sports and music industries, who bestride the world stage.”

Ireland now boasts one of the world’s highest billionaire rates among its 4.7m population – one billionaire for every 313,000 people.

UFC star Conor McGregor, 29, has set the record for growing the fastest fortune by an Irish sportsman, valued at €85m.

Most of his wealth is from his defeat last August in a €140m boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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McGregor also has sponsorship deals with Beats by Dr Dre and Monster Energy.

If he pulls off another bout with Mayweather, the former apprentice plumber from Crumlin could overtake Rory McIlroy, ranked 117 on €125m, as Ireland’s richest sportsman.

Rockers U2 once again top the 2018 Sunday Times Rich List of Irish entertainers.

The Dublin based band’s combined wealth is valued at €647 million, an increase of €2 million.

Mr Murphy added: “Fourty-two years on from their formation, U2 continue to carry everything before them, chalking up new records in the past year as a result of both their sheer longevity and their sustained brilliance.”

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Meanwhile, former One Direction star Niall Horan from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, is the youngest person on the list, worth €52 million.

Dublin accounts for 40% of the wealth in this list, followed by Munster.

For the tenth year in a row, the Weston family retain their title as the richest family in Ireland.

The Weston’s shopping empire, which includes Brown Thomas, keeps them well ahead of the competition with riches of €11.42bn, down by €933m in the past year.

Munster’s richest man, media mogul Denis O’Brien, has also seen his wealth decrease by €900m in the past year, due in large part to a €500m fall in the value of his Digicel global telecoms operation.

A new entry to this year’s top 10 is Sir David McMurtry, who can claim to be Ireland’s greatest living engineer and inventor.

The Dublin-born entrepreneur, worth around €1.5bn, is listed as the inventor or co-inventor of 47 Rolls-Royce patents.

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Despite a difficult period, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary managed to increase his wealth by €32m to €1.032bn in the past year.

Hollywood star Liam Neeson, worth €113 million, also placed high on the rich list.

Country and western singer Daniel O’Donnell has an estimated worth of €31 million.

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Article courtesy of: Cillian O’Brien. The Irish Mirror.

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