The Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) today paid tribute to the late Joe Walsh, former TD, Minister for Agriculture and Chairman of Cork Racecourse.
Expressing the thoughts of the Board, who met today at Ballymany, HRI Chairman Joe Keeling said:
"Joe Walsh was a true friend of Irish racing and deserves much credit for its modern-day success. He was a familiar face at racecourses throughout Ireland, and knew many trainers, jockeys and racecourse staff, often as close personal friends. He will be missed by everyone in this industry who had the honour to have known him and experience his characteristic mixture of good humour, knowledge and understanding of the sport."
As Minister for Agriculture from 1992 to 1994 and again from 1997 to 2004, Joe Walsh was deeply committed to the development of the Irish racing and breeding sector. He led the successful campaign to control the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001, for which Irish Agriculture owes him a debt of gratitude. It also ensured that racing resumed with minimal disruption to its fixtures.
Joe Walsh had served as Chairman of Cork Racecourse since July 2006, Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland from 2006 to 2013 and Chairman of the Irish Horse Board from 2005 to 2007.
The Board of HRI offer their condolences to his wife Marie and children Ronan, Denise, Killian, Brian and Kate.
John Moloney, Manager of Galway Racecourse and Chairman of the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) echoed the sentiments expressed by the Chairman and announced that tomorrow's scheduled meeting of the association has been postponed as a mark of respect.