Joe Flaherty’s huge input to co-op movement in Tipp

Joe Flaherty, a native of St. Patrick’s Terrace, Clonmel was born in 1929, the second eldest of 12 children.

Joe Flaherty, a native of St. Patrick’s Terrace, Clonmel was born in 1929, the second eldest of 12 children.

As the eldest boy, he took responsibility for the rest of the family, and this continued throughout his life.

As a young boy, he joined his father in his daily milk round in the town, eventually taking over the farm in Ballingarrane in 1955, where he was joined by his brother Mickey. Together they set up a dairy herd and a pig enterprise.

Joe was active in Barne Drama Group and Rathkeevan Macra. He was also part of the popular group ‘The Twilight Serenaders’ playing music at dances until the small hours.

Joe met his wife Josephine, a Wexford woman and a nurse in St. Joseph’s Hospital, in the late 1950s. They had 5 children, 3 sons and 2 daughters.

Joe was active on the Clonmel and Newcastle Creamery Committees, and was one of a group of pioneers who set up South Tipp farmers Co-op in 1967, an amalgamation of seven small independent co-op societies. He went on to become their second Chairman. Joe, John Duggan, the late Joss Mockler and Bill Carroll played a big part in setting up Avonmore Co-Op in 1973, an amalgamation of 25 smaller co-ops. Joe remained a board member of Avonmore for 23 years, retiring in 1996.

He was very active in quiz teams, he had superb recall and local knowledge, and was a terrific raconteur with a great sense of humour.

He frequently brought along his piano accordeon to gatherings. He enjoyed going racing and even owned a leg of a horse at one stage.

In 1989 his wife Jo died suddenly leaving Joe devasted. He then joined a group of friends, travelling with them to places like Egypt, Kenya and Malaysia. Joe had a great interest in his grandchildren and loved spending time with them.

Joe was blessed with good health all his life until he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2010. He spent his last two years in the care of the excellent staff at the Cottage Nursing Home, Irishtown, a short distance from where he was born.

Joe was a family man first, an innovative farmer, a dedicated co-op man and a committed member of the local community.

His popularity was evident from the large numbers of people who attended his removal and funeral. He will be missed by all.....

Month’s mind mass will be on March 31 (Easter Sunday) at 10.30am in St Mary’s Church, Irishtown, Clonmel