The farming community is deeply saddened and shocked this evening, Wednesday (February 1) after learning of the untimely passing of Co. Laois farmer and former president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Padraig Walshe.

The organisation told members: “This sad news has come as a great shock to everyone who knew him through the IFA and beyond. May he rest in peace.”

The late Padraig Walshe had a successful career both in farming and farm politics and was well-known and respected in farming communities across both Ireland and Europe.

He previously served as president of Macra na Feirme and was elected president of IFA in December 2005.

IFA president

Walshe served a four-year term as IFA president from 2006 to 2010. In addition, he also served as president of COPA (European Farmers’ Union), finishing his term in April 2011.

The Durrow, Co. Laois-based dairy farmer was also a member of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels for several years.

The former president of IFA previously served on the board of FBD between 2006 and 2010, and re-joined the board in December 2011.

The late Padraig Walshe was also chairman of Farmer Business Developments plc. and is a Nuffield scholar.


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has led tributes to the former IFA president.

“I am saddened to learn of Padraig Walshe’s passing. Through Macra, IFA, FBD and COPA, Padraig was a strong advocate for the family farm model.

“He represented all sections of farming with commitment and distinction,” the minister said.

IFA president Tim Cullinan said the farming community was in shock at the news.

“This is devastating news for his family. On behalf of the farming community, I want to extend our condolences to his family and friends. This is a huge loss for them and it’s a very difficult time.

“Padraig Walshe was a passionate advocate for the development of the farming sector and always insisted that science was the way forward.

“Through many campaigns at home and abroad, he was fearless in defending farmers,” Cullinan said.

Nuffield Ireland chair, Joe Leonard said the entire Nuffield community has been left “deeply shocked and saddened” at the untimely death “of our esteemed colleague Padraig Walshe”.

“Padraig was an exceptional leader for his fellow farmers and with Jim McCarthy was one of our pioneering scholars in 1995.

“He had many friends in Nuffield Ireland and in the international organisation and will be sadly missed by all of us.”

Leonard said that Padraig Walshe had “worked tirelessly for the betterment of farmers and agriculture”.

“He has truly embodied the Nuffield values of leadership, reciprocity and continuous learning, and been a solid supporter and promoter of the organisation.

“Ever generous with his time and experience he encouraged many scholars to be forthright and robust in our research and continuously challenging to the Irish agri sector.”

Padraig Walshe is survived by his wife Ella, and four children.

May he rest in peace.