Sudden death of Commissioner of Public Works
David Byers, the Commissioner of Public Works in charge of State property and projects, died suddenly on Saturday of a heart attack while visiting Wales. Mr Byers, who was 55, had been an assistant principal architect in the Office of Public Works (OPW) prior to being appointed as one of its three commissioners in 2001. He was responsible for managing the State’s portfolio of over 4,000 properties. In the late 1980s, he worked with two other senior OPW architects, Klaus Unger and Angela Rolfe, on major public projects – the installation of a conference centre in the Dublin Castle and the renovation of Government Buildings in Merrion Street. Subsequently, as manager of Dublin Castle, he became a familiar face meeting and greeting heads of state or government as they arrived in the upper castle yard for European summits, and was involved in developing the castle as a conference venue. He later played a central role in developing Farmleigh House, after the Government acquired it from the Earl of Iveagh, and was also involved in preparing a conservation and management plan for the Phoenix Park – including the curtailment of through-traffic.