Naoise Ryan, the Cork widow of UN worker Mick Ryan who died in a Boeing crash two years ago on Wednesday, has appealed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin and US President Joe Biden for help in her ongoing fight for justice.
On the second anniversary of the crash in Ethopia that killed her husband and 156 others, Naoise Ryan has written to the Taoiseach urging him to seek support from US President Joe Biden when they speak on St Patrick’s Day.
“Given his own experiences with personal loss, I believe President Biden will be sympathetic to our cause,” she wrote, urging the Taoiseach to help her and the families of other victims to get justice, accountability and transparency from aircraft-manufacturing company Boeing.
In January, Boeing was fined .5bn (€2bn) for misleading regulators about the safety of its 737 Max planes after investigators found its employees had chosen “the path of profit over candour”, concealed important information and then later covered it up.
But, said Ms Ryan, “in spite of Boeing’s clear culpability and criminal conduct, no one, not one single person, has been held to account for two fatal crashes which led to the deaths of 346 people.”
She said the fine was a small sum for Boeing and most of it would be paid in compensation to airlines affected by the global grounding of the 737 Max, with just 20% going to the victims’ families.
The victims’ families were not consulted about the terms of the US Department of Justice settlement either, contrary to requirements in US law.
“For those of us that have lost our loved ones, this is not justice. And unlike in many settlements, the Boeing settlement does not require an independent watchdog to be embedded within Boeing to ensure that Boeing’s negligent culture is rectified,” Naoise Ryan told the.
An investigation into both fatal crashes revealed a “culture of concealment” at Boeing. It also found the crashes were caused by a combination of design flaws, inadequate training, maintenance problems and inadequate oversight.
Last night, Ms Ryan’s US-based legal representatives said: “I know many of the families are outraged by the midnight, last-minute sweetheart deal that Boeing reached with the outgoing Trump administration.
Ms Ryan hopes to raise awareness of the case with both the Taoiseach and the US President. She said she owes it to the memory of her husband to seek justice.
Michael (Mick) Ryan, from Lahinch in Co Clare, was global deputy chief engineer of the World Food Programme. Last December, he was posthumously awarded the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year 2020.
Ms Ryan’s appeal comes just days after an engineer at the Federal Aviation Administration spoke out to say the US agency overseeing airworthiness didn’t do enough to highlight Boeing Max design flaws.
Safety engineer Joe Jacobsen also said additional system upgrades were necessary before the Max plane, which has already been deemed safe by regulators in the US and EU, was allowed back in the air.