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Niall, Rory and Graham on list of UK's 'most influential'


Graham Norton

Graham Norton

Niall Horan

Niall Horan

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Graham Norton

Graham Norton


Graham Norton

THEY hail from up the road or around the corner, but they're some of the world's most influential people, according to a definitive list.

Venerable lifestyle brand Debrett's has declared who it believes to be the 500 most influential people in Britain, and golfer Rory McIlroy, One Direction star Niall Horan and television host Graham Norton have all made the cut.

The stars join the likes of Prince Charles, Stephen Hawking and David Attenborough on the self-described "barometer for outstanding achievement in modern Britain".

New entrant Rory McIlroy was tipped by list makers as having "begun to deliver on his early promise to deserve comparison with the all-time greats of the golfing world".

Fellow first-timer is Mullingar's very own Niall Horan, who continues to smash records alongside his four British band mates in One Direction. Debrett's credited the band's "fresh-faced fervour" for bringing about "the resurgence in popularity for the boy band phenomenon".

It pointed out that the band were the bestselling live act in North America last year.

"Having embarked on their biggest ever tour in 2014, over 3.4 million fans witnessed the five perform, and they brought out another movie and released new album 'Four'," it added.

Meanwhile, it is Cork-native Graham Norton's second time on the list.

After growing up in Bandon, Norton left University College Cork early to chase a career on stage and screen, and is now best known for interviewing some of the world's biggest stars on his weekly chat show.

Debrett's said Norton was "one of the most recognisable comedy presenters on British television and radio".

"Born a Protestant in a largely Catholic Ireland at the height of the Troubles, Norton has described feeling out of place whilst growing up.

"After dropping out of University College Cork, he took his comedy/drag act to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before making his broadcasting debut on BBC Radio 4's 'Loose Ends' in the early 1990s."

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Also among the 311 new names on the list is partially sighted alpine skier Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans.

The first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Paralympics, Gallagher "stunned the world with her fearlessness" when she won gold in the Women's Super-G at Sochi 2014, according to the Debrett's list makers.

The Debrett's 500 covers 24 sectors, including sport, education and journalism.

Other famous names on the list included singer Ed Sheeran, while the youngest person added was 17-year-old activist Malala Yousafzai.

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