Joe Walsh (Irish politician)

From Academic Kids

This article is about Joe Walsh the Irish politician. For the US musician of the same name, see Joe Walsh (musician).

Joe Walsh (born May 1943) is an Irish politician. He is currently a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South West. Walsh was first elected as a Fianna Fáil TD in 1977. He lost his seat in 1981 but regained it again in 1982. He has served as Minister for Agriculture and Food on two occasions (1992-1994 and 1997-2004).

Joe Walsh was born in May 1943 in Ballineen County Cork. Walsh was educated at St Finbarr's College, Cork and University College Cork. He qualified with a degree in Dairy Science in 1970. During his time in university he became involved in politics, establishing the first Fianna Fáil cumann in the university. Walsh began his career as a researcher in the National Dairy Research Centre at Moorepark and before becoming Managing Director of Strand Dairies in Clonakilty. He began his political career when he was elected a member of Cork County Council in 1974, remaining on the council until 1991. He was elected to Dáil Éireann as a Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South-West in 1977. Walsh lost his seat in 1981 but secured election to parliament's upper house, Seanad Éireann. He was re-elected to the Dáil in 1982 and has retained his seat at every subsequent election.

Walsh became a member of the Gang of 22 who opposed Charles Haughey's leadership of Fianna Fáil during the 1980's. In spite of this he was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture & Food when Haughey became Taoiseach in 1987. In 1989 he was a key figure in the negotiations which lead to the formation of the historic Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition government. He remained as Minister of State until 1992 when Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach. Walsh was rewarded for his loyalty by being appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Agriculture & Food. He remained in that position until December 1994. In 1997 Fianna Fáil returned to power and Walsh was again appointed Minister for Agriculture & Food in Bertie Ahern's government. Walsh's skill as a Minister was put to the test in 2001 when Ireland was confronted with the foot-and-mouth disease crisis. His determination to prevent a full-scale outbreak saw many events being cancelled and travel curtailed. As a result the foot-and-mouth crisis passed off without major incident much to the effort of Minister Walsh.

Walsh has received a number of prestigious awards including the French Legion d'Honneur and the Spanish Grand Cross of the Agricultural Order of Merit. On August 13, 2004 Walsh announced that he would retire from the Cabinet after spending 14 years of his career at the Department of Agriculture. Bertie Ahern will announce his new line-up in Autumn 2004 and speculation had been mounting that Walsh was going to be dropped from the government in any case. He was also said to be in the running for the position of Irish European Commissioner, however, that post went to Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy. Walsh also intends to retire from politics and will not contest the next general election in 2007.

Political Career=

Preceded by:
Michael Woods
Minister for Agriculture & Food
Succeeded by:
Ivan Yates
Preceded by:
Ivan Yates
Minister for Agriculture & Food
Succeeded by:
Mary Coughlan

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