Galway’s wealthiest individuals are worth a staggering €2.8 billion, according to the Rich List for 2016. And the wealth amassed by Glenamaddy brothers Luke and Brian Comer alone stands at €962 million.
The former plasterers turned property magnates stand in 14th place in the list published by the Sunday Times, while they also appear at No 150 in the UK Rich List. Last year, they were in 13th place in Ireland, with a wealth of €1,028bn.
They are amongst fourteen individuals or families who are either from Galway, or who have made Galway their home, who boast a combined wealth of more than €2.8 billion.
The Comer Brothers, who have a €300,000 sponsorship deal in place for Galway United, earned their fortune by developing properties in the UK in the 1980s, before buying an extensive portfolio of office blocks, almost 30 shopping centres and hotels in the UK and Germany. They also own 80 race horses and five stud farms.
The proceeds from selling off some of their assets have been pumped back into Ireland over the last few years, and their purchases in Galway include the ‘Odeon syndicate’ site in Eyre Square,the Connacht Hotel on the Dublin Road, the former Corrib Great Southern Hotel, the Kingston Hall and Silver Seas apartment developments i Knocknacarra, Bun na Leaca in Newcastle and Howley Square in Oranmore.
Businessman Declan Ganley—who is involved in the telecoms industry through his Rivada Networks company—lives in Abbeyknockmoy is listed at No 25, with a wealth of €513m. That’s up from €308m last year and a position at No 40. He is also at No 280 in the UK’s Rich List up from No 425 last year.
Pat Supermac McDonagh and his wife Una are at No 59, with a wealth of €194m. The former teacher from Ballinasloe owns around 100 fast food outlets, and has bought three hotels in recent years, including the Lough Rea Hotel & Spa, and he also has a chain of Irish pubs in the US.
The Smyth brothers—Anthony, Padraig, Thomas, and Liam—are at No 82 with an estimated wealth of €156m. The family is originally from Claremorris, but is firmly established in Galway since the early 1990s. They own around ninety toy shops in Ireland and the UK, as well as having property investments and owning McSwiggans bar on Eyre Square in Galway. The Smyths are also a new entry on the UK Rich List, at No 830.
Frank Burke, who set up the BDL Construction group 30 years ago and later sold it, is at No 89 with an estimated wealth of €147m. He is also at No 862 in the UK.
Entrepreneur and technology investor Pearse Mee—the former Jes and UCG student who became Ireland’s first software tycoon—is at 90, with a wealth of €147m.
Care home operator William Hughes—who owns B&M Care in England with 22 care homes—is at No 109 with a net worth of €128m.
Businessman Gerry Barry sold his stake in Fintrax—which provides VAT-back services—in Baile na hAbhainn and is at No 121 with a wealth estimated at €104m.
Padraic and Martina McHale from Clonbur, as well as his brother Martin, are at No 133 with a wealth of €97m. They own the McHale Engineering machinery company in Mayo, and also have a strategic property investment and development alliance with the Comer Brothers.
They have plans to redevelop the former Connacht laundry site in the West area of the city, while they also bought almost thirty properties around Eyre Square from the Odeon Syndicate with the Comer brothers.
Galway native Michael Cotter and his wife Angela, who now live in Foxrock, Dublin, are listed at No 165, with a wealth of €82m. Together, they run Park Developments a major residential and commercial development company.
Property investors and fertiliser wholesalers Thomas McDonagh and his son Tom are at No 168 with a wealth of €82m. Their assets include office blocks in prime locations in Brussels and France, as well as the Dockgate and Queensgate developments at Galway Docks.
Oil magnate Finian O’Sullivan—the geologist and UCG graduate who served as a CEO of Burren Energy until its sale for more than €2bn—is at 178, with a wealth of around than €77m.
Brothers Robert and Michael Ward from Kilcolgan, who operate the Ward and Burke Group engineering company, are at 200, with a wealth of €68m.
Ian Quinn and his wife Enda are at No 237 with an estimated wealth of around €56m. They live in St Cleran’s in Craughwell, the former Galway home of the late film-maker John Huston. He owns a stake in CRGMD Holdings (formerly Creganna Tactx medical devices), which his family sold several years ago, and the couple own a number of property investments.