26 May 2022

Obituary: Limerick-based farming organisation pays tribute to the late Tom Farrell

Obituary: Limerick-based farming organisation pays tribute to the late Tom Farrell

The late Tom Farrell

THE death of Tom Farrell has to be observed in a way proportionate to the unstinting efforts he made on behalf of farmers in Limerick and all over Ireland for five decades, says ICMSA president Pat McCormack.

Mr Farrell, of Clonkeen, Lisnagry, passed away peacefully at Milford Hospice on Monday, January 3. He was 84. Mr Farrell was laid to rest in Kilmurry Cemetery following funeral Mass at the Church of the Holy Rosary, Murroe on Friday.

Mr McCormack said, outside the elected contemporary presidents of the farm organisations, it must be “doubtful whether any individual put in the kind of relentless, intelligent and almost literally ‘grassroots’ work for farm families that Tom did over nearly 40 years”.

“He was the engine that drove ICMSA, the Limerick-based family farm organisation, and both elected officers and fellow employees deferred to his innate grasp of what worked, and why, in terms of developing policy.

“His knowledge of family farming was not something he had to learn; it was in him always because it was his own background and that experience – allied with a sharp intelligence worn lightly – meant that he understood things that many of us contemplate without ever grasping the essence,” said Mr McCormack.

Mr Farrell was originally from a family farm in Donaskeagh, near Tipperary town, and came to ICMSA primarily to develop membership. Despite living in Limerick, he never forgot his roots and had a particular and lifelong love of Tipperary hurling.

His judgement and abilities were quickly obvious and he became the association’s de facto ‘go-to’ employee, the one that others consulted where a problem was especially complicated.

“He had that quality so indicative of the most clever where seemingly intractable problems are reduced to feasible and easy steps. He became director of organisation and was responsible for ICMSA’s success in establishing itself as the State’s specialist dairy family farm organisation – a role which it still fills today."

“His importance was such that following his retirement in 2002, he made himself available for any queries or occasions when his advice was needed. He was an excellent colleague, a gregarious and delightful companion and a great and genuine friend to the farmers of Limerick, his neighbours and the wider community in Murroe, and the people in every county of Ireland who knew and held him in the highest regard,” said Mr McCormack.

The ICMSA president said like everyone, Mr Farrell had hard days which he accepted calmly and with his characteristic dignity.

“When his own time came, he faced it in that same spirit. He was a champion and personified everything that was good and fine in Irish farming. To ICMSA members and work colleagues, Tom was always available as a colleague, a friend and to give sound advice if required or sought. We won’t see his likes again.

“On behalf of our members and staff, I’d like to express our deepest sympathy to his wife Francis, sons Stephen and John and the wider Farrell family. You can be justly proud of Tom’s life and he will be missed by all privileged to know him,” said Mr McCormack.

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