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Tycoon Arthur Ryan's tribute as he buries hero son Barry

By Ralph Riegel

Published 06/07/2015

Sacrifice: Barry Ryan
Sacrifice: Barry Ryan

Primark founder Arthur Ryan hailed his son Barry as a true hero for having sacrificed his own life in a brave but doomed bid to save his son and his son's girlfriend from drowning.

The 80-year-old's tribute was repeatedly echoed at Barry Ryan's funeral yesterday which took place while his son Barry Davis Ryan is still missing at sea.

Mourners heard a heart-rending tribute from Mr Ryan's partner, Ann Davis, who said the father-of-three would have done anything for their children.

Mr Ryan (51) drowned alongside his son and his son's girlfriend, Niamh O'Connor (20), in a freak accident at East Hole outside Baltimore in west Cork last Tuesday. Ms O'Connor was swept into the sea by a wave as the family group enjoyed an evening coastal stroll.

Her boyfriend, Barry Davis Ryan, dived in to save her.

When he then got into difficulty, his father dived into the sea in a bid to rescue them.

Mr Ryan's funeral took place at Rath Church outside Baltimore as the search continued for a sixth day for his son's body in the harbour two miles away.

The alarm was raised last Tuesday by Barry Ryan's daughter, Charlotte (14), who was yesterday comforted by her mother Ann, brother, Arthur, and grandparents, Arthur and Rose Ryan.

Arthur Ryan, in a message read out by Ann's brother-in-law, Danny, remarked on his son's remarkable courage and sacrifice.

The deceased's mother, Rose, jokingly described Barry as the favourite of her four children.

Mr Ryan was buried at Tullagh Cemetery, near Baltimore.

Belfast Telegraph

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