Politicians, past pupils and senior agriculture industry figures have paid moving tributes to former principal of Mountbellew Agricultural College, Tom Burke.

The contribution that Burke, who retired as principal in 2019, after decades of working in the college, was warmly remembered at his funeral mass, which took place today (Monday, November 20) in St. Mary’s Church, Mountbellew.

The former director of Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle also said on RIP.ie: “Sincere sympathy to Tom’s wife and family and to all his former colleagues at Mountbellew.

“I had the privilege of working with Tom for several years and his dedication to Mountbellew and the students there was second to none.

“He was a gentle man but firm in his commitment to his job as principal. It was a pleasure to have worked with him.”

The late Tom Burke Source: RIP.ie

Ireland Midlands-Northwest MEP Colm Markey offered his “sincere condolences to the friends and family of Tom on his passing” on RIP.ie.

The head of education at Teagasc, Anne-Marie Butler, also offered her “condolences to all on the passing of Tom” on the website.

Meanwhile past pupils of Mountbellew Agricultural College who paid tributes to Burke said he was a “very kind man who helped so many” and “sent people on the right path for life”.

Co. Galway councillor Andrew Reddington also said on RIP.ie : “Tom helped countless young people to get a start in life.

“A lot of past pupils of Mountbellew Agricultural College owe a huge amount of gratitude to Tom including myself.

“Tom saw potential in young people and showed them different routes and channels to further their education,” he added.

The staff of Mountbellew Agricultural College also gave their “deepest condolences to Dorothy and the Burke and O’Brien Families on the sad passing of Tom” on the website.