Belfast Telegraph

Emotional plea to let Gerry Ryan rest in peace

By Ken Sweeney

RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy has made an emotional plea that the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan be 'let rest in peace'.

While Gerry Ryan's widow Morah maintained a dignified silence about reports regarding her late husband, his friend Ryan Tubridy went on the airwaves of RTE yesterday to defend "a friend" who he said he refused to "abandon".

Commenting on the "wall to wall" coverage of Gerry Ryan in yesterday's newspapers, Tubridy told listeners to his 2fm radio programme: "You all know that Gerry was my friend and that I loved him. I have said it before and I will say it again today.

"To be truthful this hasn't changed and while I cannot, and will not, condone cocaine and cocaine use but equally I cannot and will not abandon my friend, who, like the rest of us, had flaws," he said.

'The Late Late' host made the comments on the same morning radio slot that Mr Ryan had presented his 'Gerry Ryan Show ' on RTE Radio from 1988 up until his death in April this year.

"You listening this morning were here for him all down through the years, as he was for you on a morning.

"I really want you to encourage you to remember the man that entertained you.

"To remember the man that informed you here for so many years and remember the man who loved his family and was a deeply, deeply loyal friend. "Many many of you are going through your own difficulties this Christmas on this island. It's a tough time and there is a lot of heartbreak," he added.

The 37-year-old, who started his career as a "runner" on the 'Gerry Ryan Show' before becoming a close friend of the presenter, then spoke of the "unsolicited burden" that the Ryan family was now facing.

"Gerry's family now have an unsolicited burden to contend with; we can't lose sight of that.

"There are children, family, friends who are very upset about what they have been reading and hearing.

"Without going on about it, there is an expression used when someone dies and that expression is 'rest in peace', and these are the words that have been echoing in my mind this weekend.

"And with that I would urge all of you listening this morning to let Gerry quite simply rest in peace," he said in conclusion.

Yesterday, widow Morah was doing her best to ignore the media coverage as she was helped by a neighbour to start her car outside the family home in Clontarf in Dublin.

However, music journalist Joe Jackson, an acquaintance of her husband, prompted more controversy yesterday when he alleged on RTE's 'News at One' that Gerry Ryan's use of cocaine was an "open secret" in RTE.

"I think that most people who worked in RTE radio or television, to many of us it was an open secret that Gerry was still using cocaine. The last night I met him was at a party and it was evident from the company he was keeping and the amount of times he ran off to the toilet, that he was still on it," he said.

RTE declined to comment yesterday evening.

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