Wife of Irishman killed in Boeing plane crash pleads for audience with Biden
The events surrounding the crash of the Boeing 737 Max in 2019 have been described by American courts as "the deadliest corporate crime in US history".
Naoise Connolly Ryan has made an emotional plea for an audience with US President Joe Biden during his four-day visit to Ireland this week.
Ms. Connolly Ryan's husband, Mick Ryan (pictured below), was amongst the 157 fatalities when a Boeing 737 Max aircraft crashed in Ethiopia back in 2019.
In an open letter released to media today, Ms. Connolly Ryan has expressed her desire for a six minute meeting with President Biden, in an attempt to help expedite the process of finding justice for her husband and the other victims of the crash.
Ms. Connolly Ryan began the letter by stating that President Biden's focus "will rightly be on the 3,500 people who died during decades of violence in Northern Ireland" during his visit commemorating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement".
But she went on to add that she wishes to "draw your (Biden's) attention to the fact that a tenth of that number, 346 people, were criminally killed by American company Boeing.. in a short five-month period in 2018-19".
This total of 346 includes not only the Ethiopian Airlines flight on which Mick Ryan was onboard, but also an Indonesian domestic flight (also a Boeing 737 Max) which crashed five months prior killing all 189 crew and passengers.
"In both cases, many of the families of the dead are still looking for justice", Ms. Connolly Ryan said.
Having already penned a letter to Tánaiste Micheál Martin requesting a short meeting with President Biden, Ms. Connolly Ryan has now brought her campaign for a six minute audience public.
The significance of the six minutes is a poignant one, with the number denoting the time between her husband's Ethiopian Airlines flight taking off from Addis Ababa until its crash a mere matter of moments later.
Mick Ryan was the Deputy Chief Engineer for the United Nations World Food Programme, and had worked in some of the world's most dangerous countries such as Afghanistan, Liberia and Bangladesh, bringing aid to those most in need.
Still awaiting justice for the death of her husband, Ms. Connolly Ryan also called out the previous Trump administration over the Deferred Prosecution Agreement offered to victim's families, which the widow described as "blood money".
Following the declaration by a US district court in Texas last October, in which a judge labelled the events surrounding the Boeing crashes as "the deadliest corporate crime in US history", Ms. Connolly Ryan has called on the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney General to meet with the victims' families.
Last February, the American aircraft manufacturer pleaded not guilty to a charge of defrauding the US to have regulators approve the safety of its newly-released Max 737 jets, despite earlier accepting full liability.
In light of these developments, Ms Connolly Ryan has made this plea to President Biden;
"I, therefore, want to make a direct request to you, President Biden, to ask for your support to help us to lift a sealing order in our civil cases which prevents us from sharing critical evidence with the US Department of Justice that clearly shows the former and current CEOs of Boeing knew the planes were unsafe prior to the two crashes".
Going on to state that "the families are unified in their commitment to pursue justice at all costs", Ms. Connolly Ryan reasserted her plea to President Biden to help "have our rights as crime victims under US law properly recognised, and to seek justice for our loved ones".
Ms. Connolly Ryan concluded her letter by saying that "Mick and the 345 other passengers deserve this, but we need your help. The question is, are you (President Biden) willing to help us?"
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