Death of former Turf Club senior steward Neville O'Byrne
Former IHRB senior steward Neville O'Byrne died at St Vincent’s private hospital in Dublin on Sunday after a short illness. He was 73.
O'Byrne served as senior steward of the Turf Club for two years from December 2013, having become a member of the organisation in 2007, and served as chairman of the compliance and regulations committee and joint deputy chairman of the referrals committee.
A former member of the board of HRI and governor of the Irish European Breeders Fund, he was widely regarded as one of the biggest influences in improving relations between HRI and the Turf Club.
Formerly a solicitor by profession, he brought significant legal expertise to his roles in Irish racing, while he was also a member of the board of Royal Bank of Canada Reinsurance Ireland Limited and held a leading role in major legal firm William Fry.
In December 2015 the keen breeder was replaced as senior steward of the Turf Club by Meta Osborne, who paid tribute to the popular but understated figure.
"I'm absolutely devastated," she said. "We worked closely together and he was a great support when I took over as senior steward.
"He was just the most wonderful person, he had that brilliant mixture of common sense and vision, able to see the big picture without ever overreacting."
She added: "Everyone liked him and he was always fair. He was one of those unsung heroes in racing. He never looked for the headlines. As a regulator nobody generally likes you, but he managed to stay friends with everyone. He thoroughly loved racing and was very effective."
Trainer Pat Flynn tweeted: "Neville was a lovely man, condolences to his family. RIP."
O'Byrne is survived by his wife Maud and daughter Rachel, with a funeral service taking place on Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Philip’s Church, Dartry, and afterwards to Mount Jerome Crematorium. Donations, if desired, to the Irish Cancer Society.