Former president of the Irish Farmers’ Association, Padraig Walshe, died suddenly on Wednesday at the age of 66.
The native of Durrow, in Co Laois, was highly regarded in farming and political circles.
Current IFA president Tim Cullinan, who described Mr Walshe as “fearless in defending farmers”, said that Mr Walshe was a passionate advocate for the development of the farming sector and always insisted that science was the way forward.
“On behalf of the farming community, I want to extend our condolences to his family and friends," he said.
“Padraig Walshe leaves a strong legacy of leadership of farmers, from his time as president of Macra na Feirme, to president of the IFA, and also as the first Irish leader to head up the European group of farmers, Copa,” he said.
Mr Walshe’s career spans back to 1987 when he was elected president of Macra na Feirme.
Up to his death, he chaired Farmer Business Developments following his roles in IFA, and he continued as a director of FBD.
Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly said he worked closely with Mr Walshe at the European Parliament and described his passing as an “enormous” loss to his family and to agriculture.