Gerry Ryan was Ireland's first, and really our only, shock jock. His brand of broadcasting spanning a 25-year career was exciting, energetic, opinionated, controversial, irreverent, empathic, campaigning. A huge audience loved him. Others hated him and he loved that because he knew he was making a point.

For the first time, Ireland had a broadcaster who was unafraid of expressing life in the raw, in all its complexities – and in all its silliness. One minute the lawyer in Gerry would be railing against a social injustice, the next he would be laughing at bodily functions. That was his charm.

From those early days, he will be remembered particularly for his campaigning for rape victim Lavinia Kerwick. Just recently one of his strongest programmes was an expression of personal revulsion at the sight of the bishops kissing Pope Benedict's ring as they began discussions about child sex abuse.

Iconoclastic and bombastic, Gerry Ryan started as a pirate and was a buccaneer for the rest of his short life. As a person, his friends loved him and our sympathies go to his family and his partner. He changed radio, opinions and lives through the sheer force of his character, which was, quite simply, irreplaceable.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.