In our Christmas edition of the Kinsale & District Newsletter we have paid tribute to the late Joe Walsh TD who was a great friend to Kinsale over the years. Due to space constraints we were unable to publish all the tributes but we have included the remaining tributes below:
1977 was an important year for Joe Walsh and me. I joined The Southern Star as a rookie reporter and in Clonakilty that summer, witnessed the election of the local county councillor to Dail Eireann.
It was the start of a very harmonious working relationship stretching over 30 years during which time, as already outlined in numerous tributes, the farmerâ€™s son from Ahiohill went on to distinguish himself as a TD for West Cork, Senator and Minister.
A past pupil of St Finbarrâ€™s Farranferris, Cork and graduate of UCC, Joe Walsh served as Minister for Agriculture and Food from 1992 to 1994 and from 1997 to 2004. He made a major contribution to the McSharry CAP Reform (1992), the Agenda 2000 Reform and the 2003 Fischler Reform and in doing so, always had the best interests of his native Co Cork at heart, having started his career as researcher at Moorepark, Fermoy, and headed Strand Dairies in Clonakilty.
His greatest achievement was undoubtedly the strong, decisive and assured leadership he demonstrated during the Foot and Mouth Disease crisis in 2001, which threatened the very existence of the Irish economy, not just the agricultural sector. His determination and tireless work in a deeply challenging time to confining the disease on this island to the Cooley Peninsula, will never be forgotten.
One achievement however, which meant so much to Joe was establishing Bord Bia and in that regard Kinsale was become a major beneficiary.
I have fond memories during what I regard as Kinsaleâ€™s â€˜golden eraâ€™ in the â€˜eighties and â€˜nineties when it hosted major Bord Bia international food fora and symposia. Dignitaries and leading experts from all over the world assembled in Irelandâ€™s gourmet capital, the streets of which were transformed into an open air market and food trail attracting thousands of first time visitors. It was Joe Walsh as Minister for Food who made such events possible and in doing so, significantly raised the profile of Kinsale and all thatâ€™s best about the Irish food and drink sector.
He was always a strong supporter of the co-operative movement and the diversity of opportunities that be to offered to rural communities through the development of South Western Services and EU Leader. Combining his keen interest in horse racing, Joe was also a founder and served as chairman of Horse Sport Ireland.
Over the years, Joe helped secure Lotto and grant funding for Kinsale rugby, soccer and other clubs and organizations, the refurbishment of dwellings at Sean Hales Terrace and Barrack Street and in particular for the development of Guardwell Homes.
In between an exhausting work schedule as a Minister in the Oireachtas and Europe, Joe diligently held weekly clinics in Kinsale and willingly attended numerous civic events including, most notably planting a tree in 2002 at the arboretum at Ringfinnan dedicated to the memory of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11 in New York.
Always approachable and quietly spoken but always on top of his portfolio, there was nothing the big man liked better than to adjourn after formalities in Kinsale to relax with friends at Michael and Rose Frawleyâ€™s White House.
As long time Fianna Fail colleague and former county councillor Donal Oâ€™Rourke said in expressing sympathy to his wife Marie and family at the funeral in Clonakilty: â€˜Joe Walsh was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things for his community, his constituency and his country.â€™ May he rest in peace.
Fianna FÃ¡il Councillor Margaret Murphy O' Mahony proposed a vote of sympathy for former Minister Joe Walsh at a recent meeting of Cork County Council and she also spoke at length in a tribute to him.
She spoke of his childhood, education, early working career, his love for his wife & family and his fantastic political journey which included Cork County Council, Seanad Eireann & Dail Eireann. She said in politics he will probably be best remembered for his management of the Foot & Mouth crisis for which he earned international recognition.
Margaret worked on many projects with the former Minister and saw first hand his commitment to Cork South West.
Cllr. Murphy O' Mahony also spoke on C103 in a tribute to Joe, other speakers were MicheÃ¡l Martin TD, Senator Denis O' Donovan and former TD Jim O' Keeffe.
Joe Walsh is a huge loss to the Fianna FÃ¡il Party, West Cork and Kinsale. All you have to do is look at the amount of plaques around the town with his name on them be it the opening of a building or scheme or securing funding for a number of projects including Lotto funding for Kinsale RFC and Kinsale AFC amongst other things. A thorough gentleman Joe was always approachable and always helpful no matter how big or small your issue. I can certainly tell you that during my political stint he was a massive help to me and was always there to offer sound advice or words encouragement. We have all lost a good friend and ally in Joe Walsh.
Michael T Frawley
Tadgh Lynch Fianna FÃ¡il Cumann Kinsale
â€˜A decent man with good values and his heart in the right placeâ€™
Earlier this month came the sad news of the death of a much loved and respected fellow Cork man, Joe Walsh.
His achievements showed him to be a man of broad vision with a total understanding of rural Ireland.
He was deeply committed to the development of Irish food and farming industries, which culminated in his establishment of An Bord Bia, this he considered his â€œgreatest achievementâ€.
One of the projects of that period was organising a series of outstanding food events in Kinsale, where the main buyers from all over Europe were invited and came.
His determination to prevent a full scale outbreak of foot and mouth in Ireland in 2001 saw events cancelled and travelling cut short. This was so effective that his blue print was used again for the prevention of a 2nd outbreak.
After his retirement from the Dail in 2007, he was one of the founder members of Horse Sport Ireland and became the inaugural Chairman until 2013. He was instrumental in the structure and running of this, promoting high performance horses and breeding across all equestrian disciplines.
He was an outstanding horse lover, an avid race goer, a constant supporter of our local point-to-points, and always enquiring how the hunting was going.
On behalf of the South Union Foxhounds, Hunt and Point-to-Point committees and members, we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Marie and family.
Ar dheis DÃ© go raibh a h-anam dÃlis.
Yvonne O Sullivan,
South Union Foxhounds,