“THE people who succeed in life are not the brightest and the best,” Michael O’Leary told those seated in the University Concert Hall.
“Success in life comes to the people who work hard at it. You have had a good start, the difference between that and where you finish up is how hard you work,” the Ryanair CEO told the audience at the 2013 All Ireland Scholarship awards in UL.
The businessman was the special guest at the awards, sponsored by JP McManus to the tune of €32m, the objective of which is to “give the opportunity of third level education to those who might otherwise not have this choice”, according to JP himself.
“Work hard in college, play hard, because that is what university is about, enjoy yourself, but when you leave, be ambitious,” Mr O’Leary said in an entertaining, off the cuff speech.
“When you take up work, be ambitious and be hard working. Make a difference. What you do with it from here, is down to you, so be bright, be brave, be ambitious, go forward and conquer the world.”
Some 125 students from all over Ireland received the scholarships, worth €6,750 and £5,500 per year of undergraduate study, at the ceremony on Saturday in UL, bringing to more than 880 who have received the award over the past six years.
Mr McManus said he hoped that they would “embrace the opportunity now presented to them”.
“Achieve fulfilment and success in life, but also become a resource for the betterment of our nation’s future,” he said in his speech.
“In an increasingly competitive world, we must recognise that our youth are our greatest asset,” he added.
Before the ceremony, speaking to the Limerick Leader, the Martinstown tycoon said that he “didn’t do too well in school” himself, and couldn’t offer much advice to the students.
“The education I got, I didn’t do too well at school, I failed the Leaving Cert, I had to go back to repeat Irish so, the advice I could give them, they wouldn’t learn it in a book anyway,” he laughed.
“I don’t give them any advice, I leave that to Michael.”
Three students from Limerick, Richard Burke and Brendan Moran from Ardscoil Ris and now studying in UCC and NUI Galway respectively and Cian Murphy from the Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh, now studying in UL, each received scholarships.
For more on this see the weekend editions of the Limerick Leader.