'The absolute definition of a gentleman': Hundreds attend funeral of man who died in Wexford air crash

'The absolute definition of a gentleman': Hundreds attend funeral of man who died in Wexford air crash
Family members console each other at the funeral Mass of John Finnan. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their respects to a much loved son, brother, uncle and friend who died in an air crash in Wexford three days ago.

Dr John Finnan (58), from Athy, Co Kildare a senior researcher with Teagasc and his flying partner Peter Tawse (61), from New Ross, died when their light aircraft came down near Duncormick 15 minutes after they took flight on Sunday.

The senior researcher was a leading figure in the Crops Research Department at Teagasc’s Co Carlow campus

The funeral of Dr Finnan took place at St Michael’s Parish Church, Athy, at midday on Wednesday, followed by burial at St Michael’s cemetery.

He is survived by his parents John and Claire, his sisters Emer, Ciara and Mary, his brothers-in-law Eoin, Ken and Steven, his nephews Alastair, Jack, Archie, Joshua and Toby, his niece Hannah, relatives and many friends.

Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle said the state’s agricultural research, advisory and education agency had lost an “exceptionally intelligent scientist” and “a great friend.

“We have lost a really, really, top-quality scientist. He specialised for a long time on the production of bio-energy crops.

Family members console each other at the funeral Mass of John Finnan. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Family members console each other at the funeral Mass of John Finnan. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

“He was a national authority in that area; more recently he was doing a lot of research on oats.

“On a personal level,John was the absolute definition of a gentleman. He was exceptionally quiet spoken and always had a warm word for everyone when he met them. A calm individual.”

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) and the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) are examining the circumstances of the deaths.

The aircraft was a vintage two-seater plane with one engine that was primarily used for leisure flying.

Mr Tawse is to be buried in Wexford on Friday.

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