Darragh McCullough: 'One of Ireland's most capable dairy men has turned out to be a killer'
Convicted murderer Pat Quirke confirms our worst suspicions that Ireland's most ambitious dairy farmers are greedy so-and-sos that will stop at nothing in their thirst for more.
The fact that such a sweeping statement is ridiculous hyperbole won't stop this thought from seeding itself in the minds of many throughout the farming community as they digest the reports following the longest murder trial in the history of the State.
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If you were to fictionalise such a villain from the dairy sector, you could have been accused of over-egging the character.
The Tipperary dairy farmer was part of a very select elite in the dairy sector that were put up in lights to showcase the potential for the black and white cow to generate wealth far beyond the confines of a humble 67-acre farm.
Only a handful of farmers are selected every year for Nuffield scholarships that offer grants of over €10,000 for the brightest and best in the agriculture sector to broaden their perspectives by travelling the world, networking with other like-minded individuals, and coming home brimming with innovative ideas and research.
Despite securing one of the three scholarships awarded in 2001, neither Pat Quirke's subsequent study or photo are posted on the Nuffield website.
During this period he was also chairman of the IFA's dairy committee in his home county.
In 2005 he took the podium at the Positive Farmers Conference, advising the hundreds of dairy farmers that attend this annual event on how to leverage their farms for off-farm investments.