Former Bord Bainne chairman Tom Cleary passes away

Tom Cleary, the former chairman of An Bord Bainne and Tipperary native, passed away yesterday (Monday, March 4).

As chairman, he saw the company through the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, and navigated the significant challenges to the business and the industry.

The following year, he stepped down as chairman, after 20 years in the role – taking the rains when the organisation was still known as An Bord Bainne, which created the Kerrygold brand in 1962.

In 2015, the Irish Dairy Board became Ornua.

Mr. Cleary would go on to become the longest-chairman of the organisation under any of its names.

Under his tenure, he oversaw a number of changes in the industry and within the business.

In 1983, the year after Mr. Cleary took charge of An Bord Bainne, the European Economic Community – the precursor to the European Union – introduced a milk quota system, which was only withdrawn in 2015.

Two years later, the board made an important investment in the Yoko Fresh Food company in Belgium, which opened a new supply route for Irish dairy produce.

The turnover at An Bord Bainne hit £1 billion for the first time in 1989. In 1994, Mr. Cleary oversaw the transition from An Bord Bainne into a new organisation, the Irish Dairy Board.

Mr. Cleary, whose wife is also deceased, is survived by his two children, three grandchildren and four sisters.

He will repose at Ryan’s Funeral Home, Nenagh, on Wednesday evening (March 6) from 3:30pm until removal at 7:30pm to SS Michael and John’s Church, Cloughjordan.

The funeral mass will be the following day at 11:00am, followed by burial at the adjoining cemetery.