Barrett proud of high-flying former student


TEACHERS LIKE to take an interest in the fortunes of their former pupils, particularly the promising ones. Senator Seán Barrett, who is a senior lecturer in economics at Trinity College, is no exception.

Seán is an expert in transport economics, especially in aviation and tourism. Needless, to say, he is very proud of the achievements of one particular former student: a certain Michael O’Leary, boss of Ryanair.

Michael graduated from TCD in 1983 and, as Seán proudly tells us, “he started with a million passengers a year and he has 80 million now”. However, he hasn’t forgotten his alma mater and returns every year to deliver a talk on aviation.

His unique lecturing style was the talk of a universities conference in UCC recently, when Barrett’s fellow academics got to hear of how the incorrigible O’Leary commands the undivided attention of his audience – he gives out prizes at the end.

Free Ryanair flights are up for grabs in three categories. There is the Rudest Question. The winner this year asked a very lewd question and O’Leary said he couldn’t give an answer as he was a happily married man. His cheeky interrogator got a return trip to Cork for his impertinence.

More exotic locations come the way of the student who asks the Most Intelligent Question.

And the marvellously politically incorrect Ryanair boss awards his final prize to the Best Looking Woman who asks a question.