The search is on for Ireland's greatest ever person - and St. Patrick is not on the ballot. A national opinion poll by RTE Television has narrowed the numbers down to 40 and voting begins tomorrow night. Bookmakers are making Bono favorite to win

John McHugh, the chief executive of Tyrone Productions, which is making the programme for RTE, stated that using an opinion poll was the most open way of drawing up the shortlist.

A nationally representative sample, interviewed face-to-face, was asked to rank from one to five those they thought were the greatest Irish people, living or dead.

“There are a lot of people that you might think should be there and some people you think shouldn’t,” McHugh told The Sunday Times. “That is what gets debate going. The interesting thing is what it says about what we think is important. There is not an enormous spread of women, it has to be said.”

The nominees are:

Music: Bono, Joe Dolan, Ronnie Drew, Stephen Gately, Bob Geldof, Ronan Keating, Phil Lynott, Christy Moore, Daniel O’Donnell, Louis Walsh

Politics: Noel Browne, Michael Collins, James Connolly, Eamon de Valera, Garret FitzGerald, Charles Haughey, John Hume, Sean Lemass, Jack Lynch, Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Pádraig Pearse, Wolfe Tone

Literature: Seamus Heaney, James Joyce, John B Keane, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats
Film: Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson

Sport: Padraig Harrington, Roy Keane, Paul McGrath, Brian O’Driscoll, Sonia O’Sullivan, Christy Ring

Others: Michael O’Leary, businessman; Adi Roche and John O’Shea, charity founders; Mary Robinson, former president.

Who do you think it should be?