Rock band U2 are the richest entertainers in Ireland according to the 2018 Sunday Times Irish Rich List which will be published this weekend (Sunday, March 25) in a dedicated 32-page supplement free with The Sunday Times. The band has a combined wealth of an estimated €647m and takes the top spot on the Irish Entertainment Rich List, weeks after they became the first band to top the US album charts in four consecutive decades. Also featuring on the list are Niall Horan, Graham Norton, Pierce Brosnan, Bob Geldof, Michael Flatley, and Liam Neeson.

This is the 22nd annual edition of The Sunday Times Irish Rich List and comes with extended coverage online of Ireland’s 300 richest people and how they gained their riches at




Rank Name Sector 2018 wealth Rise/Fall
1 U2 Music €647m Up €2m
2 Mark Burnett and

Roma Downey

Television €443m Down €16m
3 Michael Flatley Dance €230m Down €5m
4 Denis Desmond and Caroline Downey Entertainment €202m Up €3m
5 Paul McGuinness Music €143m Up €1m
6 Enya Music €118m Up €1m
7 Liam Neeson Film €113m No change
8 Paul Anderson and family Cinema €99m No change
9 Moya Doherty and John McColgan Entertainment €92m Up €5m
10 Paul and Mary Ward and family Cinema €91m Up €3m
11 Jack Higgins Books €73m No change
12 Pierce Brosnan Film €72m No change
13 Sir Van Morrison Music €63m Up €1m
14 Sir Daniel Day-Lewis and Rebecca Miller Film €56m Up €1m
15 Niall Horan Music €52m Up €8m
16 Bob Geldof Music €42m Down €7m
17= Chris de Burgh Music €41m Up €1m
17= Colin Farrell Film €41m Up €1m
19 Graham Norton Television €38m Up €2m
20 Daniel O’Donnell Music €31m No change


The Sunday Times Irish Rich List surveys the wealth of the 300 richest individuals and families on the island of Ireland in a variety of areas including entertainment, sport, business, technology and construction.

U2 have become rich through extensive touring and €3m annual income from their back catalogue, merchandising and airplay. Their 14th studio album, Songs of Experience peaked at no 5 in the UK album charts as well as topping the Billboard chart in the US. The €2m increase in their overall wealth helped them finish ahead of husband and wife Mark Burnett and Roma Downey who have a combined fortune of €443m.

United States-based Burnett, 57, is president of MGM Television and is the king of reality television, devising ‘The Apprentice’ ‘Survivor’ and ‘The Voice’, while his wife, Derry-born Roma Downey, also 57, is chief content officer of the faith and family division of MGM Television. She co-produced the TV mini-series ‘The Bible’, seen by 100m people. The couple made their fortune from a successful production company, in which MGM took a 55% stake in 2015 for $364m, with the couple exchanging their remaining holding for 1.3m MGM shares, currently worth €107m.

The wealthiest Irish actor is Liam Neeson, who at 65 remains one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. Most recently the star of The Commuter, which has grossed $108m to date worldwide, Neeson’s movies have earned more than $6.9bn at the box office overall. Valued by The Sunday Times at €113m this year, he has been lined up to co-star in ‘Widows’, directed by Steve McQueen and also starring Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall.

The Sunday Times Irish Rich List has been compiled by journalists Colm Murphy and Robert Watts using a wide range of accounts, annual reports, shareholder filings and other sources as well as usually private information shared by those who feature on the list. This definitive guide highlights our commitment to providing in–depth high quality journalism to readers of The Sunday Times.

Colm Murphy, compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, says:

“Forty 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. The parents of many of their fans today were children themselves when the band started out.

“Equally long-lived and enduringly popular are the band of Irish actors, who feature once more in The Sunday Times Irish Entertainment Rich List. Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis and Colin Farrell are among the most bankable stars in the industry, reflected by their combined worth of more than 280m.

“The spread of Irish acting talent is demonstrated with three-time Best Actor Oscar-winning Daniel Day-Lewis recently missing out on a record fourth gong, while Neeson reflects on his latest nine-figure box office hit with The Commuter and Pierce Brosnan awaits the summer release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, a reprise of his role in the 2008 Abba-inspired musical Mamma Mia!

“Of course, this weekend’s Rich List provides insight beyond just the fields of music, film, television and entertainment, where the Irish traditionally excel. With analysis of wealth across all sectors in Ireland, it provides a definitive picture of wealth across the island of Ireland. It’s a must read for anyone interested in where the wealth in our country lies.”

Lower down the Irish Entertainment Rich List, there is a musical changing of the guard as One Direction star Niall Horan – at 24 still the youngest person in this year’s Rich List – heads up the list with a €8m gain to stand at €52m, while Bob Geldof sees a €7m fall in his wealth to €42m. The pair swap places in this year’s wealth rankings.

Horan is the only person under 40 on the Entertainment Rich List. His second concert world tour ‘The Flicker World Tour’ kicked off a fortnight ago in Killarney’s INEC. Dun Laoghaire-born Geldof, 66, was the lead singer with The Boomtown Rats but is best known as the driving force behind Live Aid in 1985. His main company Bcraft showed a €5.2m drop in assets in the past year.

Harry Patterson, working under his pen name of Jack Higgins, is the most successful writer on the list, appearing at number 11. Higgins has written more than 70 novels including ‘The Eagle has Landed’, ‘A Prayer for the Dying’, and is most well-known as the prolific author of the Sean Dillon series.

For the complete Sunday Times Irish Rich List, detailing all 300 entries from all over Ireland, pick up a copy of The Sunday Times this weekend.


The Times, Ireland Edition unveils new design and senior appointments

David Davin-Power, Shane Coleman and Lucinda Creighton, joining the team as weekly columnists

Complimentary copies of The Times, Ireland Edition will be available nationwide in Eason stores this Saturday


The Times, Ireland Edition, will unveil a fresh, new design this Saturday, 10 March, underlining the title’s core objective of providing readers with quality Irish journalism, debate and analysis. The new look is the result of feedback from readers across the country and follows the successful launch of the printed product in June 2017.

As well as a new layout throughout the newspaper, it will be strengthened by a range of senior appointments and additional Irish content in each issue including opinion, analysis, cartoons and obituaries.

The comment section will be doubled and readers can expect new weekly columns from unique Irish voices including former RTE political correspondent David Davin-Power; former TD Lucinda Creighton and Newstalk Breakfast presenter Shane Coleman. They will join existing columnists such as Sarah Carey, Ann Marie Hourihane and Jason O’Mahony.

Weekly columnist Lise Hand is joining the award-winning political team of the newspaper. She will work alongside existing team members who include Niamh Lyons, Ellen Coyne and Jennifer Bray.

The business news team, headed up by John Walsh with support from Peter O’Dwyer, has also been expanded with Paul O’Donoghue, formerly of coming on board.

Ben Haugh, formerly of the Irish Daily Mail, is joining as news editor while Jon R Smith, formerly of the Irish Times, is joining as comment editor.

Katie O’Neill, also formerly of the Irish Daily Mail, will be joining news reporters Aaron Rogan and Michael Cogley, ensuring readers are always well-informed about national stories. Insight and analysis into the global news agenda will continue to be provided by our team of more than 200 journalists in London and 36 correspondents across six continents.

Rugby will remain a focal point with columnists Donncha O’Callaghan and Eddie O’Sullivan providing analysis to complement the coverage in sister paper, The Sunday Times, by counterparts Shane Horgan, Peter O’Reilly and Denis Walsh.

The title will continue to offer balanced Brexit analysis, providing a clear Irish perspective, complemented by the latest and best opinion from London.

Richard Oakley, Editor of The Times, Ireland Edition, says:

“We recently conducted in-depth research – and found that our readers love what we do and want more. They want a product that complements their lifestyles and culture, but also challenges conventional views and encourages them to consider viewpoints contrary to their own.

Our readers particularly enjoy insight and analysis from commentators with strong opinions so we’re strengthening our team to reflect this. We’re also delighted to add to our political, business and news teams and look forward to supplying our Irish readers with an even more diverse mix of journalism for the extraordinary times we’re living in.”

Focus group research, which took place in October 2017, reported that The Times, Ireland Edition has been well received with readers and is felt to be good value for money, particularly in terms of its business coverage, which has a more international flavour than other products in market. Readers also enjoyed the tabloid format and reported that the photography and design of the paper felt fresh.

A cohesive nationwide marketing strategy will be utilised over the coming weeks to drive awareness of the updated product and this will include Out-Of-Home advertisements, a radio campaign, sampling activity, retail partnerships, and social media and digital activity.

Sampling activity will take place in a number of locations around Dublin over the coming weeks and on Saturday, customers of Eason around the country can also pick up a complimentary copy from their local store.

Vouchers available in The Sunday Times this weekend, can be exchanged for a copy of The Times, Ireland Edition in Eason stores countrywide throughout next week.

To further celebrate the redesign, contemporary lifestyle magazine, LUXX will be available with The Times, Ireland Edition this Saturday. LUXX is published quarterly and celebrates the world’s most beautiful design solutions.


The Times, Ireland Edition and The Sunday Times

Know your times or follow us on @thetimesIE


Internationally renowned Irish Chef Darina Allen announced as ‘Guaranteed Irish Food Hero’

  • Guaranteed Irish Heroes initiative champions exceptional Irish individuals demonstrating a commitment to creating a better Ireland in their respective sectors


  • First ever Guaranteed Irish Month taking place throughout March to showcase Ireland’s exceptional reputation as a great place to do business

Darina Allen, the internationally renowned chef and co-founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, has been announced as the ‘Guaranteed Irish Food Hero’. A tireless ambassador for Irish food at home and abroad, Darina has received the accolade for her significant contribution to the food industry in Ireland. The tribute is bestowed by Guaranteed Irish, the not-for-profit business membership organisation championing homegrown and international businesses operating in Ireland.

Darina Allen now joins an elite list of Guaranteed Irish Heroes, each awarded the honour over the past 12 months for their various contributions to their respective sectors. Artist Maser, former Women’s Rugby Captain, Niamh Briggs and Professor Louise Kenny were named Guaranteed Irish Heroes for art, sport and science respectively.

Speaking about her appointment, Guaranteed Irish Food Hero Darina Allen said: “I’m overjoyed to be announced as the Guaranteed Irish Food Hero. I have always been convinced of the superb quality produce that we can produce here in Ireland and I would encourage anyone who comes within earshot of Guaranteed Irish to support their local farmers and food producers, and serve Irish food proudly, just as we have been happy to do here at Ballymaloe and the cookery school for generations.”

Having founded the Ballymaloe Cookery School with her brother in 1983, Darina Allen is one of Ireland’s best-known ambassadors for food and has helped establish Ireland as a leading location for first class food. In 2013 Darina helped launch the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine, attracting a stellar line up of top international chefs and writers to Ireland. 

The announcement comes as we enter the month of March, which has been designated the inaugural Guaranteed Irish Month to celebrate the membership of the organisation and showcase Ireland’s exceptional international reputation as a great place to work and do business. A range of activities are planned for the month-long initiative including a ‘Meet Guaranteed Irish’ event in Dublin on 27 March which will offer members the opportunity to exhibit their businesses and network with other members. Guests, including political representatives, will be invited to learn first-hand the contribution Guaranteed Irish members make to the Irish economy.

Turnover generated in Ireland by over 300 Irish companies which are members of Guaranteed Irish has now reached €11bn. Globally, these companies generate a turnover of €25.84bn. In Ireland, these companies directly employ 49,873 people, with 46% currently exporting, primarily to the UK, US and mainland Europe.

Brid O’Connell CEO of Guaranteed Irish said: “We are delighted to announce that legendary Irish chef Darina Allen is our Guaranteed Irish ‘Food Hero’. The calibre of individuals already credited with Guaranteed Irish Hero status is bolstered by Darina and her incredible contribution to the Irish food sector at a national and international level.  

With exports of Irish foods achieving record levels in 2017 and reaching over 180 markets worldwide, it’s important to recognise individuals responsible for helping establish Ireland as a world leader of food products and expertise. Darina’s stellar work in this field has contributed greatly to establishing a youthful generation of new foodies and cooks as well as securing Ireland’s status as a world leader within the food industry. There were many excellent nominations for the Food Hero award, but Darina’s contribution to the food sector is unparalleled.”  

Membership of the Guaranteed Irish organisation spans all sectors including pharmaceutical; healthcare; technology; construction; energy; professional services; manufacturing; tourism; food and drink; craft and design; retail; lifestyle; and more. Members include KPMG, FBD, Dairygold, MSD, Matheson, Ervia, Dublin Port Company, Irish Cement, Roadstone, Tegral Building Products, Foxford Woollen Mills, Rathborne Candles, Ballymaloe Foods, Manor House Hotels, Kingspan, Bord na Mona and Brennan’s Bread. The organisation considers three core criteria when assessing an applicant for membership – jobs, community and provenance.


Keep up to date on Guaranteed Irish news here:

Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland release latest Complaints Bulletin

7 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to

Misleading Advertising and Principles


The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin which contains eight case reports on complaints recently investigated by the ASAI.

Seven (7) of the eight (8) advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising and Principles. The advertisements complained of related to Television, Email, Digital, Social Media, Internet, Broadcast and Press advertising. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold one intra industry / interested party complaint.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and dealing with complaints submitted by the public, by a member of the ASAI, by a Government Department or any other person or body of persons. The Committee is made up of a range of experts from the advertising, media, education, consumer and marketing sectors.  See further details here –

Commenting on the latest ASAI rulings, Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, stated: 

The latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI illustrates our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums. While complaints were received in relation to Misleading advertising and principals, the rulings spread across a variety of media and platforms including TV, Radio, Press, Digital, Social Media and Internet. 

The ASAI is committed to protecting consumers in relation to advertising and our approach is to work with all advertisers, rather than against them, to ultimately ensure that all marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest.  

The ASAI provide a free and confidential copy advice service to advertisers, agencies and media members to help them create responsible ads. If an advertiser has any concerns about a marketing communications’ compliance with the ASAI’s Code, they can contact us and avail of the free and confidential copy advice service.

Below is a list of complaints which have been found to be in breach of the ASAI Code:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details

Sky Ireland



(7th Edition)


The complainants considered radio, tv, leaflet and website advertising to be misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee found the TV, leaflet and website advertising to be in breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code

Complaint upheld in part








(7th Edition)


The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee found the advertisement to be in breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.22 of the Code

Complaint Upheld







(7th Edition)


The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee found the advertisement to be in breach of sections 4.1, 4.4 and 4.22 of the Code

Complaint Upheld




Full Body Workhouse



(7th Edition)


The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee found the advertisement to be in breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code

Complaint Upheld:




Lidl Ireland GmbH



(7th Edition)


The complainant considered the promotion was in breach of the promotional rules. The independent committee considered the promotion to be in breach of the Section 5.34, 5.36 and 5.37 of the ASAI Code

Complaint upheld in part




UK Shop Direct



(7th Edition)


The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee found the advertisement to be in breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 11.1 and 11.5 of the Code

Complaint Upheld






The ASAI upheld complaints made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following cases:


Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details

Lloyd Daly & Associates


Principles / Non-Response

(7th Edition)


The complainant considered the advertisement was misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee found the advertisement to be in breach of section 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code

Complaint Upheld




The following complaints were investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaints.


Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details




Misleading (7th Edition)


The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading.  The independent Complaints Committee did not consider that the advertisement had breached the Code.

Complaint Not upheld




The ASAI conducts ongoing monitoring of advertising across all media and since 2007, has examined over 27,000 advertisements, with an overall compliance rate of 98 per cent. The ASAI Monitoring Service monitors compliance with the Complaints Committee’s adjudications.

Media members are reminded that advertisements found to be in breach of the Code cannot be accepted for publication.


Or follow the ASAI on Twitter @THE_ASAI