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News > Archive News > Obituaries > Nicholas Simms (W 55-61)

Nicholas Simms (W 55-61)

1 Feb 2022
Written by Tracey Ahmet

Nicholas Simms, who passed away on February 1, 2022, was the eldest son of George Otto and Mercy Simms. His father was the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross when Nicholas first went to Rugby and later successively Archbishop of Dublin and Armagh.

Bill Loughery, a friend of this father as students at Trinity College Dublin, was housemaster of Whitelaw when Nicholas arrived at Rugby. Nicholas’ brother Christopher followed a few years later.

At Rugby Nicholas excelled in modern languages, but decided not to enter for an Oxbridge scholarship as he wished to return to Ireland. During his days at Rugby he was much admired by his friends as someone of high integrity and a clear deep thinker of great maturity for his age.

On returning home, he studied for a degree in economics and political science at Trinity College Dublin, at the same time spending considerable time in his long vacations developing his language skills.

Early in his career, he worked with the famous Irish and UN diplomat Conor Cruise O’ Brien, who was to become his father- in-law when he married his daughter Fedelma. During that period, Nicholas honed his diplomatic and political skills.

In 1976 Nicholas joined the Irish Dairy Board (now known as Ornua), where he held several positions ending up as Company Secretary at the time of his retirement in 2008.

The Board’s success was important to the Irish agricultural economy as Ireland had just joined the then European Common Market. Nicholas’ linguistic skills and diplomatic background were ideal for the Board, whose business, which included the world famous Kerrygold, expanded significantly during his time at the company.

From early on Nicholas was a member of several EU professional associations where his French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch made him a highly respected contact for European Institutions. As a Europhile and European affairs expert with a wide understanding of the workings of the Brussels institutions he had the confidence of the dairy industry, farming bodies, the media, academia, industry and the Irish Department of Agriculture.

Nicholas’ knowledge and network in Brussels led to several favourable outcomes for his country, whilst his intellectual agility and expertise served his country well during periods of crisis such as BSE and Foot and Mouth disease.

Nicholas held several important HR and corporate governance functions within Ornua, where the trust and respect of his colleagues enhanced his role.

Nicholas married Fedelma in July 1968 and had two sons Mark and Laurence, of whom he was very proud. Mark is a specialist in acoustic engineering and a director of Ventac. Laurence holds a senior post in the Irish diplomatic service.

During retirement, Nicholas lived in Rathmines, a residential area of Dublin, where he was deeply involved with the local community. He also used his language skills as a translator.

Nicholas was highly respected and much appreciated by family and friends. In his death notice in the Irish Times it was written “He had such goodness in him it made him great. Such lightness it made less the world’s weight”.

He is survived by his wife Fedelma, his sons and grandchildren.

Adapted from a contribution by Richard Archer with assistance from Laurence Simms, son.

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