Book of condolence opens for Ryan

 

Some people queued for up to an hour before Dublin's Mansion House opened a book of condolence for the late RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan at noon today. The 53-year-old father of five died suddenly on Friday.

Among the people lining up to sign the book of condolence were comedian Brendan O'Carroll who said he was "shocked, like everybody else". He said the broadcaster had been "an amazing help" to him at the start of his career. "At the time when what I was doing was deemed as absolutely outrageous, he was always supportive. [He] always said, `never stop doing what you're doing. Don't change what you're doing. Just be yourself'."

Fianna Fáil's Seán Haughey recalled how they attended St Paul's College in Raheny together and how he had called to their home on many occasions. "He got up to all sorts of antics as young people do and all that just brings memories flooding back," he said. He recalled a "very irreverent" school magazine edited by Ryan and typed up in Mr Haughey's home. When outraged parents caught sight of the magazine, it was immediately recalled. "That was typical Gerry Ryan."

Mr Haughey's wife Orla said she would miss the broadcaster greatly. "I'm really upset about it. He used to make me laugh...you'd be crying or laughing at him and he'll be sorely missed."

Dublin Lord Mayor Emer Costello said she was glad to give people the opportunity to pay tribute to the broadcaster. "It's difficult for people to come to terms with the fact that the airwaves will just not be the same in the mornings anymore. Everything has changed now."

The book of condolence will remain open to the public until 4pm today and from 10am until 4pm tomorrow and Wednesday.

More than 4,000 people signed a book of condolence in the RTÉ Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin over the weekend.