DEAR SIR: I wish to add my voice to the tributes to Alan Gillis, who died on Friday. Alan was an outstandingly effective president of the IFA.

His calm demeanour and experience working outside farming enabled him to win understanding for the farmers’ case from a wider non-farming audience.

He did not just speak to farmers, he spoke for farmers to the whole community. I was delighted that, at the end of his IFA presidential term, Alan was willing to put his name forward as a Fine Gael candidate for the 1994 European Parliament elections and was successful.

It was a pleasure to canvass for him. He always seemed cheerful and positive. He had a genuine interest in everyone he met on the canvass.

In Parliament, he served on the agricultural committee, where he was able to put his professional knowledge to good effect on behalf of the EU and Ireland.

In his personal life, he was a truly ecumenical Christian, whose service represented his deeply held values. He will be missed.