Ryanair boss lands first place in role model vote

Fiona Dillon

RYANAIR boss Michael O'Leary will be flying high to learn he is viewed as a role model.

Participants in a survey were asked to identify the one individual they consider to be "the best role model for people in Ireland today".

A total of 7pc of those polled in the INM/Today FM Behaviour and Attitudes poll selected a business person.

The outspoken Ryanair boss (52), who last week described himself as "soft, cuddly and slightly misunderstood", topped the poll.

O'Leary was closely followed by economist David McWilliams in second place.

However, the poll highlights a diverse range of opinions about just what we consider makes a good role model in Ireland today.

High profile politicians who have been perceived to have broken the mould emerged as the single most mentioned group of individuals, garnering 16pc of the vote.


President Michael D Higgins was selected by 4pc, while the US President Barack Obama was named by 1pc of participants.

Meanwhile, sports personalities including Brian O'Driscoll and Katie Taylor were considered inspirational for 9pc of those questioned.

U2 frontman Bono and singer Bob Geldolf were included in the list of role models selected by the 3pc who picked a musician.

Television presenters, actors and Pope Francis also made the list.

But for some, role models can be found closer to home, with 4pc selecting a friend or relative.

The landmark poll did throw up some interesting differences between the individuals selected by men and women in their 30s.

Women in this age group were much more likely to select a politician (18pc) than men (12pc).

But the opposite was true for sports with more men in their 30s selected a sportsperson (12pc) than women (8pc).

Similarly, men in their 30s were more likely to pick a business person (8pc) as a role model, compared to women (5pc).


In addition, there were some marked differences in the viewpoints of those living in Dublin and outside the capital.

Some 16pc of people in their 30s living outside Dublin selected a politician, compared to 12pc of those living in the capital.

A total of 7pc of 30-somethings identified a business person as the best role model in Ireland today, and that figure rose to 10pc for those aged between 40 and 49.