Thursday 20 June 2019

Dev out but Gately joins the top 10 Irish greats

Ken Sweeney

EAMON de Valera, one of the dominant figures in the political history of the State, has failed to make the final 10 of a poll to find the greatest Irish person.

Instead voters in the RTE poll put the late Boyzone singer Stephen Gately on the list alongside Michael Collins, James Connolly and pioneering health minister Noel Browne.

The poll was set up in conjunction with Ryan Tubridy's radio show and the results will be announced on 'The Late Late Show' later this year.

RTE commissioned pollsters Ipsos MRBI to conduct an online survey.

But even Tubridy, on whose radio programme the Top 10 was revealed yesterday, was scathing about the results.

No sportsmen are included and it features just two women.

"There are some really silly names in there. It's contentious to say the least," admitted Tubridy.

RTE said that the poll was not easily sabotaged, as only one vote could be successfully registered from each computer.

Former president Mary Robinson and Chernobyl campaigner Adi Roche made the top 10 from only three women on the original list of 40 selected when Ipsos MRBI quizzed 1,000 people. Writers were snubbed with Oscar Wilde and WB Yeats failing to make the grade.

The poll is based on the BBC series 'Great Britons', which named Winston Churchill as the top British person.

The final five greatest Irish have been chosen but RTE just released 10 names to keep us guessing.

The five will be named on 'The Late Late Show' on September 17.

They will then be the subject of one of five hour-long documentaries. Once these have aired, the public will be given the chance to reassess them and decide which one deserves the accolade of Ireland's greatest figure. The result will be announced in October.

The Ten Greatest

(in alphabetical order)

1 Bono (1960 – )

2 Noel Browne (1915 – 1997)

3 Michael Collins (1890 – 1922)

4 James Connolly (1868 – 1916)

5 Stephen Gately (1976 – 2009)

6 John Hume (1937 – )

7 Phil Lynott (1951 - 1986)

8 Pádraig Pearse (1879 – 1916)

9 Mary Robinson (1944 – )

10 Adi Roche (1955 – )

Irish Independent

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