Sadness at passing of incoming Garryowen FC president Paul O'Byrne

Club announces passing of former Barringtons owner

Fintan Walsh

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Fintan Walsh

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Sadness at passing of incoming Garryowen FC president Paul O'Byrne

Paul O'Byrne, centre, at the Bon Secours takeover of Barringtons in March Picture: Andrew Downes

GARRYOWEN rugby club has announced the passing of its incoming president and respected surgeon Paul O'Byrne. 

Mr O'Byrne, a consultant surgeon and founder of Barringtons private hospital, was responsible for the revival of its success after acquiring the facility in 1991, following its controversial closure in March 1988. 

“It is with great sadness, that Garryowen FC announces the passing, last night, of Mr. Paul O’Byrne, incoming President. Our deep condolences to Barra and all the Family. Arrangements to be published shortly.”

The hospital, which has more than 50 beds, now employs more than 130 staff members and close to 80 consultants in more than 20 specialities.

Mr O’Byrne was only elected president of the Limerick rugby club in recent weeks but had been battling illness. A fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, he previously lived in Galway but his home in Limerick was on the North Circular Road in the city.

Former CEO of Barringtons Hospital, Denis Cahalane, who worked with Mr O'Byrne for 15 years, told the Leader that the surgeon "said little but delivered a lot". 

"He delivered a fantastic project in Limerick. It started from nothing, finished up and brought in 150 people, and never looked for any greater favour from anybody, really, for achieving that."

"I worked with him for 15 years, pretty much from the beginning," he said, adding that Mr O'Byrne "had the ambition" to bring Barringtons back to top standards. 

"He hired me 15 years ago to deliver the business side of it, and I think it was always his ambition to sell it to a bigger outfit, which he did last year."

Barringtons Hospital, after 16 years of management under Mr O'Byrne, was sold to Bon Secours for a reported €21m, following a two-year due diligence process and lengthy investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. 

He said that the surgeon's legacy will be "extremely strenuous". 

"It was one man, who battled through the hard times of the banks, between 2008 and 2016, and when he went through sales process. And he worked extremely hard," Mr Cahalane added. 

Mr O'Byrne is deeply regretted by his heartbroken wife Anna (Annie) née Costello, children Barra and Lisa, Roz, Kelly and Paul, mother Elizabeth, brothers George, Harry, Joe and John, sisters Ann (Gaffney), Elizabeth (Mannion), Sharon, Christine, Mary (Moran) and Angie (O’Connor), mother-in-law Joan, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, medical colleagues and his many friends.

He will repose at his home, on Thursday from 3pm, with prayers at 7pm. Removal to Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Ennis Road on Friday to arrive for 11am Mass. Funeral afterwards to Aghadoe Cemetery, Killarney. House private on Friday please.