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Ireland’s ‘greatest’ list misses out on the Best

Some of Ulster's greatest names have been overlooked in a new attempt to discover Ireland’s greatest personality.

While Liam Neeson, John Hume and Seamus Heaney have been shortlisted in the RTE poll, legendary singer Van Morrison and football genius George Best have been omitted.

Eyebrows have been raised by some of the figures who have made the shortlist of 40 — including pop impresario Louis Walsh and Donegal crooner Daniel O’Donnell.

The 40 will be whittled down to five in an online poll closing on April 2. The finalists will then each be subject to hour-long documentaries due to air on RTE in September, charting their impact on Irish life.

Voting will then reopen for viewers to decide who deserves the title of “Ireland’s greatest”.

Golfer Padraig Harrington, writer James Joyce and former Taoiseach Eamon de Valera have also been nominated.

Only three women — athlete Sonia O’Sullivan, former president Mary Robinson and humanitarian Adi Roche — have made the final cut.

However a spokeswoman for RTE said that, as usual, the public had the final say on the line-up — and are the people to blame for any glaring omissions.

“Derived from an IPSOS MRBI poll, the shortlist includes figures from across Irish life — sport, politics, music, arts and literature.

“The winner will be announced on The Late Late Show in October.

“The premise for the show is based on the BBC series Great Britons. Ireland’s Greatest will be a quintessentially Irish interpretation of this format.”

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