Rory Murphy - a true public servant.
Written by Patrick O' Connell for the Enniscorthy Echo 03-12-2003, on the Death of Councillor Rory Murphy
A pall of grief settled over the community of Bunclody and its environs on Thursday last as news of the death of one of its most beloved public servants made its slow but inevitable way around the area.
|Having been taken ill on Tuesday, father of six and friend to many, Rory Murphy passed away in Wexford General Hospital on Wednesday night. A man whose contribution to his town and area was a major and key factor in its development, the populace joined together in grief to mourn the passing of one whose very existence personified public spiritedness||Having suffered from a number of health problems over the last year or so, Rory's passing still came as shock to his family, many friends and supporters and more so, perhaps, because right up until his death, he maintained his presence at the meetings of the very many organisations to which he belonged. A gentleman and a noted scholar, Rory was in many ways a self||learned. man having left school at the age of 14 and a half. Following a year and a half at a secondary school in Dublin, he purchased a set of encyclopaedias and from there attempted to satisfy his insatiable thirst for knowledge from between the covers of any book that looked as if it might contain some fact that he could not already call upon.|
Rory's association with the Fianna Fail party and consequently public life in general had,
however, begun even before this point. Secretary with the Kilmyshall Cumann in his early
teens, he was also a dedicated and founding member of his local Macra na Feirme. Indeed,
one or two of his fellow councillors, speaking prior to his funeral on Saturday, recalled
him cycling from the 'little school at Trinity to Bunclody to perform his duties as a
Nothing if not a visionary and an innovator, he was also a founding member of the Bunclody Co-op, an organisation that played a key part in the town's development, at a time when such ideas and organisations were far from popular.
In 1959, Rory began to make his presence felt at a national level. He contested and won the presidency of Macra in 1959 and in doing so became possibly the fIrst 'grass roots' leader of the organisation. He was, at this time, still a young man farming for his living, but he easily dispatched the challenge of UCD Professor of Agriculture, J.B. Ruane. Having occupied the position of vice president for the two years previously, consolidating the organisation's finances and ensuring its survival was to figure amongst his most significant achievements.
During his two year tenure, he also spearheaded a marked expansion in the leadership training' efforts of Macra, while being instrumental in laying the grounds for the establishment of the Farm Apprenticeship Board. On completion of his time as President, he went to become Chair of Macra na Tuaithe, and in later years was appointed Chairman of An Foras Talúntais. In 1973, Rory went on to take up a position with the RTE authority. And he would also come to serve on the Board of Cert, the Irish Sugar Company and assume the Chair of Erin Foods. In 1979, he was appointed Chairman of Teagasc by Jack Lynch a position in which he served for a period of six years.
According to family members, Rory was also early in his realisation thatfarmers and farming would need to diversify in order to survive. In tourism, he saw an avenue through which farmers might find the breathing space they would no doubt need, and consequently became an enthusiastic supporter of the County Council's approach to tourism promotion. He chaired the first Co. Wexford Tourism Committee and went on to serve with the South Eastern Regional Tourism Board. More>>>
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