Farming stalwart and rugby international laid to rest

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

THE LATE Paddy Lane fitted more in to his 77 years than an army of men.

THE LATE Paddy Lane fitted more in to his 77 years than an army of men.

The Parteen man was a Captain in the army, a farmer, IFA president, MEP, rugby international, family man, and even spent time in prison standing up for farmers rights.

He died on Tuesday following a brief illness. Mr Lane was laid to rest in Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery yesterday following Requiem Mass in Parteen Church at 11am.

Mr Lane always stood up for what he believed in. He famously gave an All Black an uppercut when he was playing for Munster in 1963 and off the pitch he also fought for his fellow men working in the fields.

Former Clare IFA chairman, Jim Enright, worked side by side with Mr Lane for many years.

“Paddy was a very strong forceful leader totally committed to the farmers cause,” said Mr Enright. Mr Lane was born on September 7, 1934 and grew up on the family farm in Quinpool House, Parteen. He attended Crescent College where he started to play rugby. After school he joined the army but returned home to the dairy farm after the sudden death of his father in 1955.

A branch of the NFA was founded in Parteen in 1963 and Mr Lane was the founding secretary. His talent was quickly spotted and he went up through the ranks to become Munster vice-president, deputy president and president between 1976 and 1980.

As well as his NFA involvement Mr Lane somehow found time to play rugby with Old Crescent, Munster and Ireland. He won one international cap in 1964 and it would have been more only he was up against the legendary Ronnie Dawson.

The mid to late sixties were a tumultuous time in Irish farming. As part of the farmers rights campaigns Mr Lane was on the great march to Dublin in 1966. The following year NFA advised farmers to embark on a go slow campaign in paying rates.

Mr Lane and his neighbour John Doherty were singled out and sent to Limerick prison for a total of five weeks for civil disobedience.

A picket was organised outside the prison every day and his emergence from Mulgrave Street was greeted with rapturous applause.

After Mr Lane’s term as president ended in 1980 he took a step back from public life before being elected as an MEP for Fianna Fail in 1989.

He kept himself fit throughout his life and most Sundays would turn out with the Oakfield foot beagles.

A loving husband to his late wife Carmel and father to their three children Tommy, David and Liz, Mr Lane will be sadly missed by his family, relatives and many friends.

Earlier this year, the IFA conferred Honorary Life Membership on Mr Lane. Current chairman, Andrew Dundas, said Mr Lane was an “inspirational figure”.