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Thomas Joseph Maher

DOCTOR OF ECONOMIC SCIENCE

Thomas Joseph Maher

THOMAS JOSEPH MAHER

It is a daunting task to summarise the many contributions which T. J. Maher has made to Irish public life.  His early campaigns for farmers' causes led to an active involvement in the founding of the National Farmers' Association (later the IFA) in 1955.  In 1967, he became President of the Association while also taking a place on the Board of B&I.  In 1977 he became President of the Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society; a year later, he took on the Presidency of the Central Committee for Agricultural Co-Operation in the European Community.  During the years 1973 to 1978, Mr Maher was also a member of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Community.  These rapid movements in Mr Maher's career suggest a respect for the farming adage of Cato the Elder: "It is thus with farming:  if you do one thing late, you will be late in all your work".

In 1979 T. J. Maher became a Member of the European Parliament for Munster and served until his retirement in 1994.  His consistent support for Ireland in the Committee on Regional Policy and Planning ensured that this country has had a voice in a forum critical to the needs of the country.  He also took on duties as substitute member in committees concerned with rural development and with petitions, and acted as a member of the European Community -Turkey delegation.

T. J. Maher, a farmer from Tipperary, once described his motives for entering public office:

"In the beginning it's sheer undiluted idealism . . . I felt that farmers as a class in society had an absolutely vital role . . . Then also I was a committed European for a very long time".

The dedication and commitment revealed in this comment have translated into a remarkable life of public service at home and abroad that Mr Maher has combined with the management of a one-hundred acre farm.  This, indeed, is an exceptional man.  T. J. Maher's energetic and engaged approach to the issues affecting his constituency, his association and his country present an extraordinary example of public service for our time.  His positive, forward-looking attitudes serve to confirm Walter Hallstein's aside, "Anyone who does not believe in miracles in European affairs is no realist".

   

It is a goal of the University of Limerick to work beyond the walls of its campus. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to offer our facilities to those who are pursuing knowledge, truth and understanding.

It is essential to recognise today social, charitable and personal contributions which have had a substantial and long-lasting impact on the well-being of what are commonly referred to as 'these islands'.

Sport is a unifying force - it brings together parishes, counties, provinces and the nation in support of a common cause and helps to boost national morale and raise the international profile of our country. It is therefore eminently appropriate that this university should recognise and honour those who epitomise the finest virtues of sport and who have contributed substantially to the enhancement of Ireland's sporting heritage.

The University of Limerick - honouring those who use their achievements to benefit the people of this city and region and show special appreciation to those who have contributed to the development of this great institution.

Demonstrating our respect for cultural achievements on the national and international stage.

There is no idea so uplifting as the idea of service to humanity.

Woodrow Wilson

We acknowledge the remarkable contribution of individual's to the betterment of the lives of those past, present, and to come.

UL Ceremonies
University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
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