AIR is an independent, not-for-profit entity which represents those who own and operate Ireland’s twenty-six racecourses nationwide. As a chartered accountant with extensive industry knowledge and experience of the horse racing industry, Walsh was very well placed for the CEO appointment in 2003 following the retirement of his predecessor, Frank Smith.
Previously, Paddy Walsh had worked in accountancy practice in the private sector prior to serving sixteen years in various roles within the racing industry from Financial Controller of the Racing Board to Group Company Secretary of the Irish Horseracing Authority and of its successor, Horse Racing Ireland.
Paddy Walsh was appointed to the position of Chief Executive Officer in March 2003, and has thus served two decades in the role.
Paddy is the most passionate advocate of the Irish horse racing industry in particular in his representation of our 26 wonderful racecourses nationwide.
The last day of March was a very notable day for the Association of Irish Racecourses as Paddy’s tenure in the role as CEO drew to a conclusion, with Paul Hensey formally taking over the position.
With the media rights process ongoing, Paddy Walsh has agreed that he will make himself available to assist AIR in bringing these discussions to a satisfactory conclusion. A further testament to Paddy’s unwavering dedication and commitment to the Association of Irish Racecourses.
The AIR board want to acknowledge the remarkable contribution Paddy has made to the body during his tenure as Chief Executive. This is a career which has spanned many years where his intrinsic knowledge, experience and expertise was invaluable in the representation of our 26 wonderful racecourses which he did with the utmost professionalism.
Chairman Conor O’Neil commented, “It has certainly been my pleasure to have served alongside him during my time as Chairman and on behalf of the entire board, the executive and our membership, past and present, I extend our collective gratitude for his dedication and commitment over the last two decades as we wish Paddy a well-deserved, healthy and enjoyable retirement.
The Board of A.I.R. are fully intent on ensuring that this very significant occasion is formally marked.”
Paddy Walsh said, “I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a long and successful career doing a job that I love in an industry that Ireland competes well in on the world stage and I have met and worked with some amazing people throughout my career in racing. Although the role has not been without its challenges over the years, it has been most rewarding.
“I am very pleased that, due in no small part to the efforts of the various board members and chairmen that I have worked with over the last twenty years, our racecourses are in a healthier state, both financially and in terms of facilities, than they were when I first took over the position. I’m sure that I will miss the job but my wife, Chris, my entire family and I are very much looking forward to the next chapter and enjoying some down time together.”
The Association of Irish Racecourses, along with all the team at The Irish Field, we would like to take this opportunity to wish Paddy all the very best for his retirement and to thank him for his service over the years.
By Leo Powell