Primark founder leads tributes to his heroic son

Primark founder leads tributes to his heroic son

PRIMARK founder Arthur Ryan paid tribute to his hero son who drowned in a failed rescue mission off the Cork coast.

Barry Ryan lost his life whilst trying to save his son, also named Barry, and his son’s girlfriend, Niamh O’Connor, after a freak accident last Tuesday at East Hole, off Baltimore, Co Cork.

The funeral of Barry Snr took place at Rath Church outside Baltimore on Sunday, July 5, whilst his son is still missing at sea.

Barry Ryan, 21, found himself in difficulty after he leapt into the sea to save his 20-year-old girlfriend who had been dragged in.

Having spotted the couple struggling in the water, Barry Snr told his 14-year-old daughter Charlotte to raise the alarm before diving in himself.

The bodies of Barry Snr and Ms O’Connor were recovered within minutes of the incident taking place, but Barry Jnr is feared drowned as his body is yet to be found.

Mourners heard a touching tribute from Barry Snr’s partner, Ann Davis, who said the father of three would have done anything for their children.

Ann's brother-in-law Danny read out a message from Mr Ryan that praised his son’s remarkable courage.

"You are my hero," he said. "We love you, Barry, and miss you and you will always be in our hearts."

Mr Ryan worked as a senior executive with Penneys based in Dundrum, Dublin, but spent a lot of his spare time in Baltimore.

Fr Chris O'Donovan, who was assisted by the Bishop of Cork & Ross, Dr John Buckley, reflected on the sacrifice made by Barry Snr.

"No greater love can a man have than that he lays down his life for his friend," he said.