AT the Annual General Meeting of Macra na Feirme, delegates from across the country gathered via video conference to witness the handover from Cavan man Thomas Duffy to Laois native and North Tipperary Macra member John Keane.
In his inaugural address as the 38th National President of Macra na Feirme, John Keane urged the government, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and minister Charlie McConalogue to “be brave, back our young farmers”.
“There are many challenges facing young farmers: the environment, carbon and habitat loss, and changes in the future CAP are combining to create economic uncertainty in many sectors. What we as young farmers need is for our government, our Department of Agriculture, our minister, and our policy-makers to listen and actively support young farmers, not just provide empty promises.
“Young farmers need a CAP that actually delivers on generational renewal. We need our Department of Agriculture to be brave and back our young farmers. Through ringfenced funds and schemes, supportive policies can actively drive generational renewal.”
Macra na Feirme delegates heard at the AGM that young farmers are being told: “We have lost the tournament before we can even lace up our boots”. There are successful pilot schemes that now need to be scaled up by the department to have true national impact for farmers.
At the Annual General Meeting several board members retired, and new members were elected. Tributes were paid to outgoing board members James Healy, former Macra president; Shane Quigley of Mayo Macra, former vice-presidents Fergus O’Rourke, Ger Mahon, Sean Wallace, all of whom finished their two-year term as North-West, Leinster and Munster vice presidents respectively.
Tributes were also paid to external independent Director and Chief Executive of FRS Recruitment, Colin Donnery, who completed a four-year term on the board of Macra na Feirme.
Those elected to the board at the AGM include Andrew Doyle (chairperson); national president John Keane; immediate past president Thomas Duffy; Caroline O’Keeffe (company secretary); Bill Gleeson (treasurer); Luna Orofiamma, Claire Gough, Elaine Houlihan – vice presidents for North West, Leinster and Munster respectively; Amanda Monahan and Paddy Jordan. The above Macra na Feirme members are joined on the Board of Directors by external independent directors Donie Wiley, Noel Flavin and David Fitzgerald.