Mr Connolly, who succeeds Damian McDonald, who was appointed chief executive of Sport Horse Ireland earlier this year, comes from a strong farming background and will take up his new position after Christmas.
He holds an honours degree in Agricultural Science from UCD and started his working life as procurement manager for a meat (lamb) export plant in Co Wexford. He subsequently spent five years working with O’Sullivan and Company agricultural consultants and was a founding author of the Irish Farmers Handbook.
Mr Connolly worked extensively as an agricultural consultant covering farm development and accounts, farm subsidies, capital taxation and loss adjusting. Subsequently he established a cross border enterprise agency for Waterford Leader Partnership promoting rural economic development between southeast Ireland and west Wales.
He also has experience in private enterprise and has spent the last five years promoting economic and rural development for South Tipperary County Enterprise Board. During this time he qualified as a certified public accountant. He is currently a board member of Tipperary Energy Agency and a member of the Agricultural Science Association.
A keen sportsman, he played senior hurling for Clonea for 10 years and played rugby for Carrick-on-Suir. He is a past treasurer of Carrick-on-Suir golf club.
Meawhile, Professor Gerry Boyle, the new director of Teagasc, will officially open Macra’s annual conference at Clonmel Park Hotel tonight. The event is sponsored by Dairygold and will continue over the weekend.