herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mourners to bid farewell to broadcaster

Legions of fans are expected to attend the funeral service of Irish broadcaster Gerry Ryan today at which boyband Westlife are due to perform.

The service will be held at St John the Baptist Church in the leafy north Dublin suburb of Clontarf, where his five children - Lottie, 23, Rex, 20, Bonnie, 17, Elliott, 14, and Babette, 10 - were baptised and his parents' funerals took place.



Westlife, who offered to perform at the service, will sing the piece You Raise Me Up.



A spokeswoman said they are due to fly in for the Mass, assuming flight restrictions imposed because of the drifting volcanic ash cloud are lifted.



President Mary McAleese and Communications Minister Eamon Ryan will be among those attending the Mass.



It will be celebrated by family friend Fr Michael Collins, with Ryan's five children reading the Prayers of the Faithful.



Broadcaster RTE, for whom the 53-year-old presenter worked for three decades, took the unprecedented decision of streaming the proceedings by webcam on the 2FM website and will air it live on radio.



The broadcaster will later be laid to rest in a family plot with his parents during a private ceremony in Dardistown Cemetery, north Dublin.



The 53-year-old reposed at the family home on Tuesday night for a private wake attended by family, friends, and loved ones.



Fellow RTE stars Pat Kenny, Ryan Tubridy, Marian Finucane and Joe Duffy, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, stage star Twink, Fr Brian D'Arcy and developer Sean Dunne grieved with his family.



His coffin bore his favourite quote from his favourite film, 2001 A Space Odyssey, "Open the Pod Bay Doors Hal".



Gardai said parking restrictions and traffic diversions will be put in place for the funeral.



A former pirate radio DJ, Ryan was given his popular eponymous chat show on 2fm in 1988 and went on to become a household name, attracting a daily audience of more than 300,000 listeners.



Since his sudden death on Friday, thousands of fans signed books of condolence at the capital's RTE Radio studios and at the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello.



Ryan - who split from his wife after 26 years of marriage in March 2008 - was found dead on the floor of his bedroom in his Dublin flat by his partner, Melanie Verwoerd.



Gardai are not treating his death as suspicious.

© Press Association

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