Warm, emotional and funny tributes paid to James Osborne at Dublin memorial service

Ryanair director and former managing partner of A&L Goodbody died last week aged 68

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary at the memorial service for James Osborne at Trinity College Dublin on Friday. Mr O’Leary delivered a funny, but also searingly emotional tribute to his late friend. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary at the memorial service for James Osborne at Trinity College Dublin on Friday. Mr O’Leary delivered a funny, but also searingly emotional tribute to his late friend. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Warm and moving tributes were paid at a memorial service in Dublin on Friday for James Osborne, the Ryanair director and former managing partner of A&L Goodbody, who died tragically in Donegal last week aged 68.

Mr Osborne was cremated this week at a private ceremony. Friday’s memorial was held at Trinity College, where attendees filled the Examination Hall, and an overflow marquee erected in the front square.

Mr Osborne was a respected member of the legal profession, and also held a wide variety of senior corporate roles. His family were joined at the service by many of his friends, including senior business and political figures, as well as others from the entertainment and sporting sectors.

They included Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair; Datalex chairman Paschal Taggart; former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick; Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society; and Paddy Kelly, a well-known property developer.

Other attendees were music promoter Louis Walsh; Independent News & Media chief executive Robert Pitt (Mr Osborne was a former chairman of INM); and former chairman of Telecom Éireann Ron Bolger.

There were a dozen speakers, beginning with Mr Osborne’s son, Patch, who delivered a moving tribute to his father. Patch Osborne said he chose not to follow in his father’s career footsteps.

“But by wearing his shoes here today, we will walk together,” he said, addressing his late father and tapping his feet.

Keen sailor

Mr Osborne’s brother, Beaumont hospital consultant Henry Osborne, drew laughter when he recalled how his brother, a keen sailor, accidentally sunk a yacht as a 16 year old while trying to impress the 19-year-old daughter of a British navy captain.

Singer Seán Boylan jnr sang a song, Southerly, which was also the name of Mr Osborne’s boat.

Other friends from different periods in Mr Osborne’e life delivered eloquent tributes, including, among others, Prof Frank Keane; former A&L chairman Marcus Beresford; and former McKinsey executive Denis Tinsley. They were introduced by former Fine Gael TD Madeleine Taylor Quinn.

Mr Osborne’s daughter, Lucy, read a passage from the Wind in the Willows that her father read to his only granddaughter – Lucy’s daughter, Maya – this summer. His young daughter Pia also spoke confidently about her father.

Ryanair’s Mr O’Leary delivered a funny, but also searingly emotional tribute to his friend, who he joked had “too much personality” to be a solicitor.

Mr Osborne’s friend, the comedian and Irish Times columnist Oliver Callan, closed out proceedings with a hilarious series of impressions of political figures delivering tributes to Mr Osborne.

Mr Osborne is survived by his wife, Heather, their children Lucy and Patch, his granddaughter Maya, his partner, Patricia Devine, and their daughter, Pia.