Tributes from across the globe for renowned entrepreneur

March 17, 2014

Tributes have poured in for Dr. Edward Haughey, the chairman and founder of Newry pharmaceuticals company, Norbrook Laboratories.

Born in Kilcurry, Dundalk in 1944, Edward Haughey was educated at the Christian Brothers in Dundalk and drawing on his farming background, built up Norbrook into an international success in veterinary medicine.

His success made him hugely wealthy and, as Northern Ireland’s richest man, he had amassed an estimated fortune of £600million.

Dr. Haughey – also known as Lord Ballyedmond when he was made a life peer and took the title in 2004 – sat in the House of Lords on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party, before switching to the Conservative Party.  He had also been appointed to the Irish Senate in the 1990s.

Norbrook is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest exporters, employing more than 1,700 across its three factories in the city and paying about £50m a year in salaries, which is a mark of Dr. Haughey’s huge economic legacy.

A statement on the company’s website conveyed the shock and sadness felt by his employees: “It is with sincere sadness and deep regret that the company confirms our founding chairman and CEO, Lord Ballyedmond, was one of four people who tragically lost their lives in an aviation accident at Gillingham, Norfolk at approximately 7.30pm on Thursday 13 March 2014.

“Norbrook management and staff also mourn the loss of their friends and colleagues Declan Small (site foreman), Capt Carl Dickerson (pilot) and Capt Lee Hoyle (pilot).

“Our thoughts are with the immediate families and friends of the deceased who have requested privacy at this difficult time.

“We take enormous pride in our chairman’s extraordinary legacy in establishing Norbrook as a global veterinary and pharmaceutical industry leader.

“Management will continue to advance his pioneering vision with a renewed vigour and determination befitting his memory.”


First Minister Peter Robinson: “Dr. Edward Haughey was a great ambassador for Northern Ireland. He worked tirelessly to develop the globally respected Newry based veterinary pharmaceutical company Norbrook Laboratories. As a result of his vision and leadership he created employment opportunities for many people in Northern Ireland.

A seasoned and well respected politician, Edward’s passing will be a great loss to his family and everyone in Northern Ireland.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness: “I offer my condolences to the family and friends of everyone who lost their lives in this helicopter accident in Norfolk.

I know the passing of Eddie Haughey will be acutely felt in the Newry and wider County Down area where his entrepreneurial spirit was a catalyst for economic development in the area. Norbrook Laboratories, which Eddie founded and developed into an industry leader is one of the largest employers and exporters in the north of Ireland. Eddie was a highly motivated man with immense business skills and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult time.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said Lord Ballyedmond was “a towering figure in Northern Irish business life, and passionate about peace and good relations north and south, east and west”.

Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI: “I have had the pleasure of working with Lord Ballyedmond over many years. He worked tirelessly to promote Northern Ireland as an investment location and made a tremendous contribution to our local economy. Lord Ballyedmond will be sadly missed by both the business and wider community and I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade: “As a local entrepreneur and leading industrialist, Lord Ballyedmond has made an immense contribution to the Newry economy.   Lord Ballyedmond’s legacy will also be remembered in his commitment to local education and training through Norbrook’s links to the local post primary schools and the Southern Regional College.  Newry Chamber of Commerce sends its sincere condolences to the family of Declan Small from Mayobridge who also lost his life in the tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those grieving at this very sad time.”

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster: “Without doubt, Lord Ballyedmond was one of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs, and he was known for his leadership, integrity and global vision. One-of-a-kind and a self-made businessman, he was both highly regarded and widely respected by all those who knew him.  Not only has he made a huge contribution to the local economy but Lord Ballyedmond also devoted much of his time to charitable works and this is to be highly commended.”

US government: “The United States was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lord Ballyedmond and others.  Through his stewardship and dedication to excellence, Norbrook became a global force in veterinary pharmaceutical research and manufacturing. His achievements brought significant employment to Northern Ireland and in other places around the world, while his philanthropic endeavours helped improve the quality of life of countless others.”

Conor Murphy, Newry and Mourne MP: “My father was a veterinary chemist in Newry and would have known Eddie Haughey. Really he had very humble beginnings as a shop boy in Newry and my father would have known him then. He told me he credits my father with giving him his first contract in terms of getting into the veterinary business himself.

“Of course, as an elected representative for the area, I had many occasions to meet him and engage with him, and to cross swords with him on occasion. I found him to be someone who was very firm and fixed in his views, but he also respected the fact that I had fairly firm and fixed views myself and we got on quite well.”

SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie: “He was a major employer in the Co Down area and invested a lot of money.  He got up and at it and he possessed those attributes required to make you a successful businessman but he also was a major employer and a lot of families had connections with him through that.”

Dominic Bradley, SDLP MLA: “Lord Ballyedmond’s death is a huge blow to his family and friends and to his employees in Newry and elsewhere. He was one of our main employers and a mainstay of the economy in the city of Newry and district providing upwards of 1,500 well-paid jobs in his three factories and research facilities locally.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy “Lord Ballyedmond was a determined businessman who brought much-needed employment to my own constituency of Newry and Armagh. He built a world class business from scratch and at the same time managed to base it locally.  He will be sadly missed throughout the business community in Northern Ireland and wider afield. I offer my deepest sympathies to Lady Mary and the children.”

Micheál Martin, Fianna Fáil leader: “His contribution to the world of business and politics, in particular his work in the lead up to the Good Friday agreement, mark him out as an important figure in the progress of peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland over the past two decades.”

Cormac McKinney, Principal of St. Colman’s College: “On behalf of St. Colman’s College I would like to express my regret following the untimely passing of Lord Ballyedmond. Deepest sympathy is expressed to his family, friends and the employees of Norbrook Laboratories.  Lord Ballyedmond was a generous supporter of St. Colman’s. Many students of the College have benefitted from his sponsorship and the excellent relationships that exist between Norbrook Laboratories and St. Colman’s.”