Former IFA president Paddy Lane dies (77)

Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 01:00

PADDY LANE, a former IFA president, member of the European Parliament and rugby international, has died, aged 77.

Mr Lane, from Parteen in Co Clare, served as president of the Irish Farmers’ Association from 1976 to 1980.

IFA president John Bryan paid tribute to his predecessor, saying he had led farmers through a very difficult economic period when inflation was high and interest rates were eroding farm incomes.

“Paddy Lane, who was a powerful voice for farmers, had a long-standing commitment to IFA and serving the farming community.

“He led a successful campaign of opposition to the then minister for finance George Colley’s notorious 2 per cent sales levy. Paddy Lane battled for better conditions and facilities for farmers and a more receptive attitude in the Department of Agriculture.”

Mr Bryan said Mr Lane was “deeply honoured” when the farm organisation conferred honorary life membership on him at a meeting of the Clare IFA executive earlier this year.

Mr Lane was born on September 7th, 1934. He attended the military college on the Curragh and was a captain with the Army. He was also a skilful rugby player and was capped for Ireland in 1964.

Through running a significant dairy farm in Parteen, he became involved in farm politics. He succeeded TJ Maher as IFA president in 1976, having served as deputy president from 1974. He was the first vice-president of Copa – the European farmers’ body.

After joining Fianna Fáil, he was elected to the European Parliament in 1989 to represent the Munster constituency. He lost his seat in the next election in 1994.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin paid tribute to Mr Lane last night, saying “he was always considered as a strong advocate for the rights of farmers”.