Former Irish Food Safety Authority Chief Executive Patrick Wall has been named the new Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland and will take over the role from Joe Walsh.
Wall was appointed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar, on Thursday. He starts on February 6.
Outgoing chairman Joe Walsh said he knew Wall well from his time as Minister for Agriculture when Wall was CEO of the Food Safety Authority.
“Professor Wall has an outstanding CV and I am sure he will be a strong, progressive and independently minded Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland.
“I have greatly enjoyed my time as Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland. I want to thank the board members past and present, our 22 affiliate bodies and the staff in Horse Sport Ireland,” Walsh said.
“For an organisation that only became the governing body for equestrian sport in 2008 a huge amount has been achieved. It is important to have a strong governing body which can resist the demands of vested interests and strong personalities while moving the sector forward without fear or favour.”
Wall is Professor of Public Health at University College Dublin, and is qualified both as a veterinary surgeon and a medical doctor. He was nominated by Minister Varadkar, in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Simon Coveney, and with Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring, and appointed by the board of directors of Horse Sport Ireland.
A keen horseman, Dr Wall has shown and judged young horses, produced riding horses for the Ridden Hunter classes, participated in hunter trials and one-day-event competitions, and ridden in Point-to-Points. During the past couple of years, Dr Wall led the RDS Breeding Group appointed to investigate the lack of success of Irish-bred horses at the top end of show jumping competition.
He is qualified as both a veterinary surgeon and a medical doctor and is presently a Professor of Public Health in University College Dublin. He was co-author of the 2010 UCD report on Horse Welfare in Ireland commissioned by World Horse Welfare. He is a co-director of the UCD/Redmills Advanced Certificate in Applied Equine Husbandry, a new course developed for individuals from the fledgling Chinese sports horse industry. He is the former head of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and a former Chairman of the European Food Safety Authority.
Minister Varadkar said: “Patrick Wall brings a wealth of experience and expertise which will enable Horse Sport Ireland to develop further in the years ahead, building on the very solid foundation which has been laid for the organisation by outgoing Chairman Joe Walsh. His previous experience as a chairman and a chief executive will be useful in this role, along with his ongoing participation in equestrian sports. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Joe for his exemplary work in bringing the different elements of equestrian sport together and his contribution to the sport.”
Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring said: “This appointment marks the start of a new era for equestrian sport in Ireland. Patrick Wall is the ideal candidate for this position, and I look forward to working with him in the future”.