Mass for Irish engineer killed in plane crash told someone must take responsibility

Micheál Ryan and 156 other passengers died in Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash

World Food Programme deputy chief engineer, Michael Ryan from Co Clare who was killed when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed minutes after take off.

World Food Programme deputy chief engineer, Michael Ryan from Co Clare who was killed when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed minutes after take off.


A memorial service for Co Clare engineer Micheál (Mick) Ryan killed when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed in March has been told someone must take responsibility for the technology failure that led to the tragedy.

Lahinch parish priest, Fr Des Forde told the service celebrating the life and legacy of the 39-year-old senior United Nations employee on Saturday that: “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.”

Fr Forde received sustained applause from the congregation when he added: “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.”

Mr Ryan, a married father-of-two, was two weeks short of his 40th birthday when he was one of 157 passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed minutes after take off en route from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya on March 10th.

The aircraft was a Boeing 737 Max. Aviation regulators grounded this aircraft model after the crash. It was the second Boeing 737 Max aircraft to crash in the space of four months.

As Mr Ryan’s remains were not recovered from the very badly damaged aircraft the family cannot have a funeral.

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

Fr Forde said Mr Ryan’s youngest child, Macdara had his first birthday on Friday.

Mr Ryan worked as the 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 , Mr Ryan’s mother, Christine told the congregation: “We all love you to bits Micheál and we will miss you forever.”

She 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.

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 thanked Fr Forde for asking for prayers for Micheál at every Mass since March 10th and raised some laughter when she said: “As one parishioner said to me ‘we’re killed out praying for him, killed out’.”

Christine said 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 there was now a road in Bangladesh called the Ryan road while Micheál has been posthumously appointed chief engineer of the UN World Food Programme.

The symbols offered up during the Mass included a family photo, a globe symbolising Mr Ryan’s work around the world and a golf ball representing his love of golf.

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

Mr Ryan was also an enthusiastic surfer and after the Mass, his friends had a paddle out past the waves on Lahinch beach in memory of their friend.