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'Someone must take responsibility': Memorial service takes place for Irishman killed in plane crash

The Irishman’s remains were not recovered from the aircraft so his family have been unable to have a funeral.

The 39-year-old was one of 157 passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight when it crashed.
The 39-year-old was one of 157 passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight when it crashed.
Image: WFP/Facebook

SOMEONE MUST TAKE responsibility for the IT failure that resulted in the tragedy that claimed the life of Co Clare engineer, Mick Ryan and 156 other airline passengers.

That is according to Lahinch parish priest, Fr Des Forde who was speaking today at a memorial service celebrating the life and legacy of the 39-year-old senior United Nations worker and father of two.

Mick Ryan was just over two weeks short of his 40th birthday when he was one of 157 passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight en route from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya on 10 March last.

The aircraft was a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and aviation regulators and airlines grounded all aircraft after the crash which was the second Boeing 737 Max aircraft to crash in the space of four months.

At the end of the memorial service at Lahinch church, Fr Forde received sustained applause from the congregation when he said:

The tragedy that happened to Mick and the 156 other passengers and the planes have been grounded since – someone must take responsibility for the lack of updating such simple machinery.

Looking on at Mick Ryan’s mother, Christine and his widow, Naoise, Fr Forde said that “the pain is permanent over the failure to update IT”.

He said: “Those in charge take must responsibility and these systems should be updated automatically and no one should ever have to go through what Naoise, Christina and Mick’s family are going through.”

The 39-year-old man was the father of two young children and Fr Forde said that the Clare man’s youngest, Macdara had his first birthday yesterday.

The Lahinch man worked as Deputy Chief Engineer with the United Nations World Food Programme and at the memorial service where The Stunning provided the music, Aide De Camps of President Michael D Higgins and An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar were present and later sympathised with the Ryan family

Earlier addressing the congregation, Mick’s mother, Christine said:

“We all love you to bits Micheál and we will miss you forever.”

As Ryan’s remains were not recovered from the very badly damaged aircraft the family have been unable to have a funeral.

Christine said: “We as a family find ourselves in surreal circumstances.

It is the first time that we have come together – family, friends and the community to pray for Micheál five and a half months later.

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At the Church where Micheál was baptised and had his first communion, Christine said: “We all find it extremely difficult. Today is a celebration of Micheál’s life.”

Christine said that she wanted to thank Fr Des for asking for prayers for Micheál at every mass since March 10th and she raised some laughter when she said: “As one parishioner said to me ‘we’re killed out praying for him, killed out’.

Christine said that Micheál “was doing wonderful work for the UN” and and I am so proud to say that his work has been further recognised since March 10th

She said that there is now a road in Bangladesh called to the Ryan road while Micheál has been posthumously appointed Chief Engineer of the UN World Food Programme.

Some of the symbols offered up during the mass included a family photo, a globe symbolising Mick’s work around the world and a golf ball representing his love for golf.

The congregation was told that Mick showed courage, empathy and fortitude in his work involved supporting the vulnerable and providing basic necessities to communities around the world.

Mick was also an enthusiastic surfer and after the memorial mass, friends had a paddle out past the waves on Lahinch beach in memory of their friend.

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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