“He never drove a patrol car in his 30 years on the beat, as he was always on a motorbike. They came hand in hand – if you saw the bike, you saw Eddie”. –
By David Raleigh
Those were the words of Sergeant Tony Minitir, speaking about his Garda Partner and friend, the late Eamonn (Eddie) Ryan.
Garda Eddie Ryan retired from An Garda Síochána in 2014 and subsequently became a taxi regulator with the Department of Transport.
A Tipperary native, Eddie fought a long battle with cancer and sadly died on Sunday last aged 56 years of age.
Eddie began his 30-year service in the guards at Roxboro garda station before joining the divisional traffic corps at Henry street, Limerick in 2003.
Despite his towering presence, the father-of-three was regarded as a ‘gentle giant’ by many and had a reputation of always treating offenders fairly. He was also widely known as ‘RoboCop’ for his great interest, passion and dedication to road safety, collision prevention and casualty reduction.
Main Pic: Courtesy LimerickLeader.ie and Inset via LimerickPost.ie
Today, almost 200 gardaí paid a silent, social distant tribute to their retired colleague outside Limerick’s divisional headquarters at Henry street garda station. The guard of honour was led by Limerick Chief Supt Gerard Roche, joined by Tipperary Chief Supt Derek Smart, Superintendents Dermot O’ Connor, Brian Sugrue and John Ryan.
Sergeant Tony Miniter served with Eddie for 11 years. He said, ‘Eddie was a very big man, a larger than life character and was well-liked by all, even by those he rubbed shoulders with and prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act.’
“He was a very big man, a larger than life character and his likes will never be seen again.” He was very well-liked, even if he was taking down your details at the side of the road. Nobody really had a bad word to say about Eddie Ryan. This was basically unheard of in roads policing/ traffic corps at the time. When you are prosecuting members of the public you’re normally on their bad side, but he was loved by so many people, especially by his colleagues.”
Sgt Miniter said Eddie kept the streets a safer place to be. “He was affectionately known by some of the public, and by some of ourselves, as ‘Robocop’, but in some ways that did him an injustice, in that, he did his job and he was brilliant at what he did, and, he definitely kept the streets a safer place to be.”
“He never drove a patrol car in his 30 or more years on the beat, as he was always on a motorbike. They came hand in hand – if you saw the bike, you saw Eddie and vice versa. He started out driving the old Kawasaki GT550’s and then progressed up onto the Honda Deauville”.
Eddie Ryan was a loyal Munster rugby fan and had many privileges of escorting the team from their hotel to Thomond Park rugby stadium. “I’m sure he’s up there with half a Tipp jersey and half a Munster jersey, and with a pint in his hand, smiling down at all of this,” Sgt Miniter said.
“He was taken too young, but he fought a very strong battle for the last two years. He was somebody you couldn’t miss on the road and he will be really sadly missed by all of us.”
A stream of garda outriders accompanied the hearse through Limerick City as it made its way from Thompsons Funeral Home, pausing outside Henry Street garda station and outside Thomand Park while making its way to Shannon for a private cremation.
A private funeral service took place in line with government advice regarding public gatherings. Mass cards and letters of sympathy can be delivered to Thompson Funeral Directors, Limerick.