Con Lucey, the former chief economist of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) for over 30 years, has died.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said that the farming community will be “greatly saddened” to hear of his death.

Con joined the association’s economics section in 1973, and quickly rose to become chief economist in March 1979. He retired in 2008, his term within the organisation spanning the terms of 10 IFA presidents.

That was not the end of his involvement with the IFA, however. In 2015 he was commissioned to write a report following the IFA pay scandal.

His report made a number of recommendations around issues of remuneration and corporate governance within the organisation.

“On behalf of all in IFA, I want to extend our sympathies to his family. Con has left a huge legacy and they should be very proud of what he achieved,” Cullinan said.

Con Lucey made an outstanding contribution to the shaping of agricultural policy and the development of Irish farming over three decades,” the IFA president remarked.

“He did this at a crucial time for the sector as we had just joined the EEC [European Economic Community].”

Cullinan said that Con “enjoyed universal respect among farmers, the entire agriculture sector, and at the highest level of government for his contribution to Irish farming”.

“He was undoubtedly one of the country’s most talented economists and a tireless advocate of a modern, competitive Irish agriculture with family farming at its heart,” Cullinan added.

Before joining the IFA’s economics section in 1973, Con studied agricultural economics in University College Dublin (UCD). He became the IFA’s chief economist in March of 1979.

He was centrally involved in the analysis and formulation of IFA policy on a huge range of issues, including Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, trade talks, and IFA involvement in social partnership agreements since 1987.

“Con Lucey’s in-depth knowledge of the issues was a huge strength to IFA. His authority meant his facts and figures were never in dispute and he was an immense talent and resource for the association,” Cullinan added.