Obituary: ICMSA stalwart Donal Murphy
The death has been announced of the longest serving chief executive in the almost seven decades of the ICMSA with the passing of Donal Murphy, following a short illness.
The late Donal Murphy who resided at Birdhill, Co Tipperary was a native of Adare, Co Limerick. He was in his early eighties and had served eight years as Farm Manager of the UCD farms at Celbridge and Glasnevin prior to joining the ICMSA in 1971.
Between 1971 and 2000 he was involved in negotiations on behalf of the farming community with seven Taoiseach, and ten Ministers for Agriculture while serving under seven presidents of the ICMSA while chief executive/secretary general of ICMSA.
He believed very strongly that the farm organisations role was solely in genuinely serving the development of agriculture on the family farm and demonstrated an abhorance against those who were perceived to "use" the organisation as a stepping stone to furthering ulterior personal objectives.
He has been described as having been an "extemely good negotiator with a very sharp intellect and great foresight" which stood him and the farmers he represented well through the difficult years in the development of Irish agriculture.
His return to his native birthplace coincided with the conclusion of negotiations for Ireland's entry into the EEC as transitional members in 1973.
"The euphoria among the farmers at the time was wonderful. After years tied to the British market the freedom to produce was gripping them. Conditions on most of the farms were relatively primitive. Farmers were just about getting up off their knees" he said in his last interview in 2015.
"In truth I believe that the expectations on the EEC were over sold to farmers. Commissioner Mansholt gave farmers the impression that they could continue to produce more with supports which proved to be entirely wrong. It was never possible, but the farmers believed it. They were misled", he said reflectively.