An Irishman killed in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash was dedicated to helping the world’s most vulnerable.
UN aid worker and engineer Michael (Mick) Ryan was formerly from Lahinch in Co Clare in Ireland’s west. He was believed to be married with two children, a priest in the county said.
He was employed by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), which is a leading humanitarian organisation delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with impoverished communities to improve nutrition.
A WFP spokesman confirmed: “I can very, very sadly confirm that Michael Ryan worked for WFP and was based at our headquarters in Rome and was among those killed on ET 302.
“All of WFP’s thoughts and condolences are with the families of those killed.”
The plane was en route from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Nairobi. It crashed on the eve of a UN Environment Assembly in the Kenyan capital.
Several WFP staff were on the flight, ahead of this week’s conference.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar extended his sympathies to Mr Ryan's family saying "Michael was doing life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme."
Our thoughts tonight are with families of all those lost in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, including Irish engineer Michael Ryan. Michael was doing life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme. Deepest sympathies to family, colleagues & friends— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 10, 2019
President Michael D Higgins also added his sympathy to all affected by the tragedy.
"This tragedy affects so many, with passengers from more than 30 countries and from several international organisations on board the flight."
He also extended his sympathies to "President Sahle-Work Zewde, the families of the victims and the people of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian community who live here in Ireland."
The married father-of-two was global deputy chief engineer with the WFP’s engineering division.
Mr Ryan’s past projects included creating safe ground for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in preparation for the monsoon season.
He had also helped assess the damage to rural roads in Nepal which were blocked by landslides.
The disturbances blocked deliveries of food and other emergency supplies in response to a 2015 earthquake.
Lahinch is a popular surfing town on the Atlantic seaboard in Ireland’s far west.
Mr Ryan was from nearby Attychristoria, his church parish said.
Catholic parishioners in the town of Ennistymon, which is close to his former home in Co Clare, said they were in shock.
A parish statement added: “We ask for prayers for his wife, children, mother, sisters, brother, mother and father in law, in laws, aunts, uncles, relatives, neighbours, UN colleagues, many friends around the world & the extended Ryan, Connolly and O’ Donoghue families.”
Deeply saddened at news of the death of Michael Ryan from Lahinch one of the 157 on board the Ethiopian Airlines plane. Michael worked with the UN on the World Food Programme helping the most vulnerable people on our planet. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.— Martin Conway (@conwayforclare) March 10, 2019
He is the son of Christina, a retired teacher in Ennistymon, and the late Jack Ryan. Mr Ryan is also survived by two sisters and a brother.
The parish priest in Ennistymon said he had been living in Cork in the with his family.
Senator Martin Conway, who is from Co Clare and represents Ireland’s largest party Fine Gael, said he was deeply saddened.
“Michael worked with the UN on the World Food Programme helping the most vulnerable people on our planet. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
- Press Association
by Patrick Flynn
The Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft involved in the tragedy was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines last November and passed through Dublin Airport on its way to Addis Ababa.
The brand new jet, operating as flight ET-9201, was being ferried from the Boeing production factory at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington to the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa when it made a planned stop in Dublin to allow the crew rest before completing their journey.
The aircraft departed Boeing Field on November 15th and arrived in Dublin in the earlier hours of November 16th. The flight left Dublin later that night at around 9.30pm and arrived in Addis Ababa the following morning shortly after 5.00am Irish time.
The aircraft entered commercial service on November 17th 2018 operating as flight ET-612 to Dubai.