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"It's a very special song, because it's the first time that we ever really made a statement." — Larry, on "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

They're worth all of (EU)715m ... but U2 still fall down the rich list

Irish Independent
Rock band U2 now have an estimated collective fortune of (EU)715m...but even that huge wealth is only enough to secure 20th position on this year's Irish Rich List.

The full list will be published on Sunday and is again expected to be topped by Dublin-born model Hilary Weston, who married into a retailing dynasty in Canada and has an estimated fortune of (EU)7bn.

But the fall of Bono and the boys from 13th position on the list -- despite earning more than (EU)25m last year from their Vertigo tour -- highlights the increasing competition at the top of the Irish rich list.

A number of property magnates are understood to have overtaken U2, and the number of Irish billionaires has also increased from last year's total of seven.

Quinn Group chairman Sean Quinn and Independent Newspapers chairman Sir Anthony O'Reilly are believed to be among the top three richest. However, the four U2 band members -- who split their earnings with manager Paul McGuinness -- continue to top the separate list of Irish music entertainers, which was released yesterday.

Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley is the runner-up with his estimated (EU)550m fortune. He is followed by reclusive singer Enya, who was Ireland's best-selling artist last year and saw her personal fortune top (EU)112m. Others on the list include Van Morrison (EU74m), Bob Geldof (EU51m), and Chris de Burgh (EU46m).

The full Sunday Times Rich List -- including 1,000 of the wealthiest individuals and families in Britain and 250 in Ireland -- will be published on Sunday.

But the full music entertainment list shows that the only band that continues to tour and have more cash roll in than U2 is the Rolling Stones, with (EU)835m.

The reclusive former record label boss Clive Calder tops the entertainment list easily. The fortune of the man behind pop acts such as Britney Spears and N'Sync is valued at (EU)1.9bn.

Paul McCartney may be facing an estimated (EU)140m divorce payout to Heather Mills but even when that is taken into account his wealth is still valued at (EU)1.06bn.

That is slightly less than Andrew Lloyd Webber (EU1.1bn), but ahead of the man best known as David Beckham's agent. Simon Fuller's wealth (EU660m) now stands at more than four times that of the Real Madrid star, despite Beckham's impending megabucks transfer to LA Galaxy later this year. When it comes to young musicians, Irish stars are thin on the ground although Belfast-based Katie Melua takes 11th spot with estimated earnings of almost (EU)12m.

Violinist Vanessa-Mae Nicholson (28) tops the list. The Singapore-born star of the electric violin is worth (EU)46m.



© Irish Independent, 2007.