According to the annual Forbes Billionaires’ Circle list, which ranks in order the world’s richest people, five of the 1,426 billionaires in the world are Irish citizens.
The richest man with Irish citizenship is the construction mogul Pallonji Mistry, ranked 103rd, with $10.5 billion. He qualified for citizenship through his Irish wife, though he is still resident in India. He is 85.
Formerly chairman of the India-based behemoth Shapoorji Pallonji Group, Mistry officially handed over the top role to his eldest son, Shapoor, in June. His family is also the primary stakeholder in the $100 billion holding company Tata Sons.
Second among the Irish is Denis O’Brien, 2012 Irish America magazine Business 100 Keynote Speaker (and a 2013 honoree) and founder of the telecom giant Digicel. Currently ranked number 233 in the world with an estimated net worth of $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 Irish person and number 613 in the world, the man behind the $2.4 billion fortune was born in the United States as heir to the Campbell 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 the fourth Irish person and number 736 on the global list with $2 billion.
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 831st overall, whose self-made fortune comes from the private equity firm International Investment & Underwriting he founded in 1994.