MILLIONAIRE Limerick businessman and philanthropist JP McManus has hailed the students receiving scholarships in the University of Limerick today as â€œour greatest assetâ€.
The Martinstown tycoon was handing out scholarships worth nearly â‚¬7,000 over the duration of third level study to 125 students from all over Ireland this Saturday morning in the University Concert Hall in UL.
Admitting that he â€œdidnâ€™t do too well in schoolâ€ himself, he said it was â€œexcitingâ€ to see the young recipients receive their awards through the All Ireland scholarship scheme he sponsors and said that the students should look to special guest speaker, Ryanair CEO Michael Oâ€™Leary, for advice.
â€œThe education I got, I didnâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t learn it in a book anyway,â€ he laughed.
â€œI donâ€™t give them any advice, I leave that to Michael,â€ he added.
Mr McManus has been sponsoring the scheme for six years, with more than 880 students receiving financial assistance through the All Ireland scholarships since its inception.
He said it was â€œa great dayâ€ to hand out the awards to the students and see their reaction.
â€œIt is exciting to see the excitement on all these young recipients who have worked very hard and I am just pleased to be here with them to share on the day,â€ he said.
Later, speaking during the ceremony, which was attended by finance minister Michael Noonan and Northern Irelandâ€™s Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, Mr McManus hailed the students gathered and the younger generation in education as â€œour greatest assetâ€.
Mr Oâ€™Leary, speaking off the cuff in a witty and entertaining speech, said â€œsuccess comes to those who work hardâ€.
â€œWork hard, play hard, but when you leave college, be ambitious, hard working and try and make a difference,â€ he told the students.
â€œBe bright, be brave and be ambitious and go forth and conquer the world,â€ he added.
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 story, see Mondayâ€™s Limerick Leader and the print editions at the weekend.